Monday, December 25, 2006

Seven Layer Cookies

Seven Layer Cookies
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe comes from These amazing little gems are quite a bit of work, but I would like to say they are completely worth the effort.

I made a few changes to the recipe - the layers seemed to need to bake at least 15 minutes or they were gooey, and for them to stand up in the cookie, they need to be somewhat firm. The recipe warns against overbaking, but underbaking seems an equal crime here (my pinkish red layer was underbaked and when biting into the cookie, the pink layer squishes out slightly).

I would also recommend blending the chocolate with a little bit of cream to soften that layer, making it easier to cut.

In between the layers (making the seven) is apricot jam, although several reviewers said they use other flavors like raspberry. I loved the flavor combination of the almond, apricot, and chocolate. This was such a contrast to the other baked goods I make during the holidays (more recipes to come, now on a weekly basis).

This recipe gets my Best Recipe of the Year Award because of its appearance, taste, and unique appeal.

Categories: Almond, Apricot, Chocolate, Cookies

Monday, December 18, 2006

Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Balls
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
Of the many treats I make during the holidays, this is a recent favorite. I first made these in 2000, and at this point, it is NOT December without my peanut butter balls. They are so simple but the flavor is incredible.

I adapted the recipe from Gale Gand. Her recipe can be found here. I don't think it's necessary to make peanut butter from scratch, I prefer semisweet chocolate, and I've played with the amount of sugar slightly - she uses 16 oz, but I prefer them a litle less sweet. I would start with 12 and see what you think.

Peanut Butter Balls

18 oz. peanut butter
12-16 oz powdered (confectioners' sugar)
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
12 oz. (or 1 package) semisweet chocolate chips, melted

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and butter. Mash together until combined. Form the mixture into balls. Chill until hardened, about 30 minutes. Dip into melted chocolate. Let set.

Yield: 32 balls.

We usually store ours in the fridge.

Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Peanut Butter

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Gingerbread people

Gingerbread people
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I made these cookies for my devoted student workers for finals week (and their friends). The recipe comes from A Baker's Field Guide to Cookies which has a wonderful selection of recipes. I haven't made one yet that has been disappointing.

In the past I have made gingerbread snowflakes and trees, but really the best use of gingerbread cookie dough is to make people. If I had more time I would have tried making each one unique, but it was late as it was!

I bought one of the pre-made frosting tubes but neglected to buy the tips, which explains the somewhat messy frosting job. I need to build up my cake decorating supplies, or get my originals from my parents' home in Oregon!

Categories: Cookies

Winter Bliss Cookies

Winter Bliss Cookies
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
There will be a lot of posts this month involving Christmas cookies and candy!

This is a recipe I developed based on several I found. The combination of the butter and margarine makes for a soft, chewy cookie, but don't overbake! They will get crunchier and crunchier the longer you bake them.

Winter Bliss Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup margarine, room temp
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
6 oz white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter, margarine, and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
3. Blend dry ingredients and mix in.
4. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips.
5. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake 8-12 minutes.

Categories: Cookies

Monday, December 04, 2006

Swedish Christmas Cookies

Swedish Christmas Cookies
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe can be found here. I really liked the sound of these cookies - sugar cookies with cardamom and lemon, and made in a roll, which is much faster than cut out cookies.

I made the dough ahead of time and based on some of the reviews on the site, put it in the freezer. I rolled it in the sprinkles right before slicing it to bake. If I made these again, I would try more than one color of sprinkles since just red makes the cookies look a little like the barbecued pork at Chinese restaurants.

I was surprised by how the cookies baked - they never flattened out at all, and the edges stayed vertical. I'm not sure if this is a result of the dough or because I froze them, but it would definitely add a shape variety to your holiday cookie tray.

Another thing I would want to try if I made these again is something I saw on Martha Stewart once where she actually wrapped tubes of cookie dough in wrapping paper rolls, and turned them in the fridge periodically while they set up. This might have made them a little more perfectly round (but this may not have mattered once you start slicing off rounds).

Categories: Cookies

Battle of the Pumpkin Pies - Food Network's Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe can be found here. I did everything except make their crust recipe, since I had so many leftover from my Grandma's recipe.

I think the par-baking technique with the crust made a nice contrast with the pumpkin but almost managed to overshadow the pumpkin. I would like to try this in a deep dish version so the pumpkin had more of a chance to shine. But this baked easily, the recipe worked great, and I might make it again.

Categories: Pie, Pumpkin

The battle of the pumpkin pies - Pumpkin Praline

Pumpkin Praline Pie
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I got this recipe from an online buddy, and I'll share it with you also!

Praline Pumpkin Pie

1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
unbaked pie shell

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 cups cooked pumpkin
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine pecans, brown sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of the pie shell. Prick the sides of the shell with a fork. Bake 10 minutes, cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Mix together eggs, sugars, flour, salt, and spice; blend in the pumpkin. Gradually add the milk and mix well. Pour the filling over the pecan mixture in the baked shell. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream.

My thoughts - this was an okay pie. A little too sweet for my liking. Also, much better the first day because after that the sugar in the praline part turns quite grainy.

Categories: Pie, Pumpkin

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe can be found everywhere on the internet, including here. I did not bother with the streusel, as the dough looked tasty on its own, and it was.

This is a great recipe this time of year, because you can dump in all your holiday baking remnants - I can't be the only one with half cans of pumpkin puree and random apples from buying them in bulk. I didn't have quite enough pumpkin so I just added that much applesauce, and it worked just fine.

Categories: Apple, Muffins, Pumpkin

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe is my adaptation of the Pumpkin Cake II recipe found on (click here to see the original).

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 tbsp water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Dump all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into desired pan and bake until done. For a bundt pan, I think it baked 50 minutes.

I made a glaze of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.

My co-workers raved about it and my students quickly devoured it as well. The cake was incredibly moist, and the spices really add a lot of flavor (as well as using the entire can of pumpkin and decreasing the water, which is what I did from the original recipe).

Categories: Cake, Pumpkin

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Grandma's Apple Cake

Grandma's Apple Cake
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe is hard to ruin, and it can be made in any shape - 9x13, 2 loaf pans, muffin sized, or bundt. It is moist and delicious! To me, fall means apple cake, and I've had it every year as long as I can remember.

Fresh Apple Cake

4 cups diced apples
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped nuts
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Mix apples and sugar. Add oil, nuts, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients and add. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until baked in center.

For a luxury version of this cake, you can try baking it in two 9" pans and icing with cream cheese frosting; or serve in wedges with butter pecan icecream, drizzled with hot caramel sauce.

Categories: Apple, Cake

Apple Praline Pie

Apple Praline Pie
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe is from the Almost Home Tearoom in Greencastle, IN, where I used to make desserts. Today I used a combo of braeburn and golden delicious apples, and was quite pleased with the results.

Apple Praline Pie

4 cups (about 6 medium) sliced, peeled apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp mace (opt.)
1/4 tsp salt

Pour into: 1 unbaked 9" pastry pie shell
Dot with: 2 tbsp butter
Cover with: Second pastry pie shell

Seal, flute, and slit top to vent. Bake at 425 degrees 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Melt in saucepan:
1/4 cup butter

Stir in:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cream or milk

Bring to a boil and boil one minute.
Stir in: 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
Pour over HOT pie.

Categories: Apple, Pie

Pie Dough

Frozen Pie Crust
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I'm going to share my grandma's recipe for pie crust. To me, this is what pie crust should taste like, because all the pies I had growing up used this recipe! One year my Grandpa was in the hospital and I spent two days with my Grandma baking for the holidays. After that, my Mom told me that pie baking skips a generation and it was always my job growing up.

I know this recipe calls for shortening - the good news is that Crisco now makes a version with 0 trans fat. I read the reviews, and it is slightly less flaky than regular Crisco (and I would agree with this after using it) but to me, worth the difference in content. You can use half shortening and half butter, but the crust might burn more easily. And of course you could use half lard, but really, who wants pie crust made out of lard.

Grandma's Pie Crust

Makes 6 crusts

5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tbsp white vinegar
cold water

Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until evenly distributed (mixture will be crumbly). Beat egg in 1 cup measuring cup; add vinegar. Fill to 1 cup with ice-cold water. Mix. Add to above with fork.

Use as directed in pie recipes, or divide dough into 6 portions and store in freezer, double-wrapped.

Categories: Pie

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cinn-ful Vegan Apple Cake

Cinn-ful Vegan Apple Cake
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I tried this recipe from Sinfully Vegan. Without eggs and butter, the process entailed mixing brown sugar with oil, and ground flaxseed with apple cider. The cake tastes a little too "healthfood store" for me, and I'm not sure if the culprit is the flaxseed or the whole wheat flour. I did like the concept of shredding the apples, although I would have expected a moister final product.

I used an ancient bundt pan that I found at a random garage sale. Best 50 cents I've ever spent!

Categories: Apple, Cake, Vegan

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Streusel-Topped Apple Custard Pie

While in North Carolina, we stopped at SkyTop Orchard. I had seen the signs before, but didn't know just how far up we would have to drive until we did it. I wish the road was better. I decided to purchase mutsu apples for baking, from that very orchard. Mutsu is a mix between Golden Delicious and Granny Smith, so I thought it might hold up nice in a pie.

This recipe is from Almost Home Tearoom in Greencastle, Indiana, where I worked for over a year, making desserts. At first appearance it looks like a typical stresel-topped apple pie, but it also has a sweet custard surrounding the apples. The link to the tearoom also includes information on purchasing their cookbook. I wanted to make something that wasn't "just" an apple pie. The crust is a modified version from the typical shortening recipe - I decided to use half butter for better flavor, and kept the crust coverered with tinfoil until the last 10 minutes of the baking process.

The mutsu apples definitely held their shape while baking - in fact after over an hour of baking time in the oven they were still slightly firm. Almost too firm. I still have more to experiment with. If you have a favorite apple recipe, send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you.

(I used this picture because you could see my rolling pin in the background. I think it is so cute!)

Categories: Apple, Custard, Pie

Bakeries of southern North Carolina

Flat Rock Village Bakery
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I've decided to start blogging about bakeries I visit in addition to my own creations. Yesterday my husband and I drove to two bakeries in North Carolina. The first one was the Wildflour Bakery in Saluda. For a tiny town in the mountains, this bakery was a busy place! We stood in line for 15-20 minutes. They had a nice lunch menu but we decided to just buy cookies and bread. We tried a ginger cookie (crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside), a mocha cookie, and each had what they called a Carolina Dandy - a butterscotch pecan oatmeal cookie. The bread we brought home didn't look all that appetizing really - we got the oatmeal raisin - but had really good flavor and texture. Even more impressive to me was the variety of options for wheat-free and sugar-free clients - spelt cookies and breads, sugar-free breakfast bars, etc.

Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
About 15 minutes away was the Flat Rock Village Bakery in Flat Rock, NC, behind The Wrinkled Egg. I had been there before for amazing woodfired pizza, and this trip didn't disappoint. We tried the daily special which was a roasted red potato, red onion, fresh rosemary, olive oil, and gorgonzola cheese pizza. This bakery was equally busy but the service was quite a bit faster. We also purchased scones and croissants for the next day's breakfast (the winner in what I tried was the apricot cranberry!). The bread they carry is more of the artisan type compared to Wildflour, with the rounder loaves and chewier crusts.

Categories: Bakery

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Harvest Muffins

Harvest Muffins
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This is a standard in my house for fall - you might think that pumpkin and chocolate chips don't go well together - I humbly beg to differ.

Definitely don't add the pumpkin until the end. I tried combining it with the creamed mixture at the beginning once and the end result just wasn't as good!

Harvest Loaf Bread

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 ½ cups flour
15 ½ oz (whole can) pumpkin
11.5 oz bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix in spices and then add flour to creamed mixture. Add pumpkin and chocolate chips.

Pour 2 big loaves – bake at 350 for 1 hour or 7 little loaves for 40 minutes or muffins for 22-25 minutes.

Categories: Chocolate, Muffins, Pumpkin

German Apple Oven Pancake

German Apple Oven Pancake
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
My first official dish of fall, made for yesterday's breakfast! My husband and I love almost any version of the puffy oven pancakes - most of the time I make them plain with lemon juice/curd and powdered/granulated sugar, but for the first day of fall, apples were added. This recipe is adapted from a few that I use.

German Apple Oven Pancake

2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 apple, peeled
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Slice an apple thinly. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a castiron or ovenproof skillet on medium heat. * Lay apple in one layer, in circular pattern. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

While the apple cooks, beat two eggs. Pour in milk, vanilla, salt, and flour and mix lightly with whisk, just until items are barely blended. Batter should still be lumpy!

Turn apples over, and pour batter over the top. Put pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until pancake is puffed and set. Serve by turning upside down onto a serving plate immediately (if you wait the carmelized sugar will turn hard!).

* This can be done by melting butter and placing apples and then batter into pie plate, but the butter and sugar won't have the same flavor opportunity as they do cooking first on the stove.

Categories: Apple, Breakfast, Pancake

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chocolate Buttermilk Mocha Pound Cake

This is a rich, dense cake. Slice it thinly for your guests! Goes well with tea or a spicy hot chocolate.

Chocolate Buttermilk Mocha Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with dissolved coffee and buttermilk. Pour into tube pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

This recipe was posted with permission from Elmwood Inn. You can order the cookbook this recipe came from by visiting their web site, or visiting many of the tourist shops in Kentucky.

Categories: Cake, Chocolate

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This past weekend we stayed in, and I made afternoon tea. The menu:

Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
Chopped Egg and Scallion Tea Triangles
Curried Spinach Rolls
Giverny Scones

All the recipes except the chopped egg sandwiches are from various cookbooks from the Elmwood Inn. I highly recommend these cookbooks for afternoon teas - they have recipes for all themes, including some creative ideas I didn't even have on my radar. I was hoping to hear back from them in order to post one of their recipes, but if I do I'll edit the post later. In the meantime, some of their recipes are also available online, although not the ones I chose.

I would like to criticize my menu slightly - if you notice, everything I made includes some form of a bread. Ideally I would have had something like stuffed tomatoes or something with eggs, just to make everything slightly lighter! Also making two recipes with buttermilk (this scone recipe called for it) seemed like overkill.

I have decided I should feature a favorite tea or tea company from time to time. For this afternoon tea, I used the Assam Mangalam tea from Scent by Spirit Teas. The tea was a nice black blend, malty but not overpowering.

I have enjoyed ordering from Scent by Spirit Teas - the business is a woman-owned company in the northwest; the owner is known as the "Head Genie" on the forums and throughout the web site. Visitors to the forums can read reviews of the teas, interact with other customers, get recommendations, and find out about special deals and new additions.

I am a frequent consumer of teas and what I like best about SBS Teas is the variety and creativity in the teas. Lately I tried the Chocolate Flame Chai, which is the best chai I have had. The other recent highlights are the green rooiboses (if that is plural for rooibos!), especially the Green Rooibos Haiku. Green rooibos teas are my favorite to make iced. I haven't nailed down a favorite yet, but if I had to pick one it would probably be the Mexican Spiced Rooibos. If you have a tea company you love, let me know!

Categories: Cake, Chocolate, Savory, Scones, Tea, Tea Sandwiches

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding

I had a request from a reader to include vegan recipes in this blog. My favorite vegan cookbook, Vegan Planet, had this recipe for Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding. It is a rich, creamy, sweet recipe that paired nicely with the Indian dinner I made that evening.

I am a little torn on copyright issues, so I am choosing not to post the recipe in the blog. Since a recipe is a self-contained item, the way I read copyright law means I can't put an entire recipe in. This cookbook is one worth buying - the recipes have never failed me, and the food is accessible enough for people who aren't strict vegans.

I can say that this is a different technic for rice pudding than I have used before, and was much easier. In the past I have made rice pudding in a similar method to making risotto, where the rice is coated with a fat (oil or butter) and then the milk is slowly added until the rice absorbs it, and necessitates constant stirring over a hot stove for at least 30 minutes. This recipe started with cooked rice that was then simmered with the coconut milk and sweetener, and produced a similar texture tot he more difficult method.

I am going to go back on my hunt for the perfect vegan brownie, so if you have a recipe you like to use, please e-mail me!

Categories: Coconut, Rice, Vegan

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fresh Fig and Assam Melody Tea Bread

This recipe was developed for the TeaChef Recipe Contest sponsored by Adagio Teas, a company I often order tea online from. If you sign up, they send you a tea sample at the beginning of the month, you have time to develop and submit a recipe, and then a winner is chosen at the end of the month. It's not time to vote yet, but stay tuned!

This recipe I think I can take credit for, as I took a few recipes I found and combined them. I think it is just delicious; it has the texture of apple cake, but the tea adds a delicate flavor (substitute any black english breakfast tea, or even chai) and the almonds add some variety. Again, this is an essential fresh fig recipe.

Fresh Fig and Assam Melody Tea Bread

1-1/2 cups light or dark figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup Adagio Assam Melody tea, brewed double strength
1-2/3 cup flour
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
½ cup salad oil
2 eggs

Gently combine figs and tea; let stand 15 min. Mix together flour, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat sugar, oil and eggs to mix; blend in flour mixture. Drain tea from figs but do not throw away. Gently stir in figs and ¼ cup tea; pour batter into well-greased loaf pan; bake at 350ยบ F for 1-1/4 hours or until bread feels firm when gently pressed in center. Cool in pan 10 min., then invert onto a rack. Bread can be frozen for later use.

For a special treat, make the Assam Melody Spread:
Combine 8 oz softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp double strength Assam Melody tea, and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Serve with bread.

Categories: Figs, Tea, Bread

Figgy Bars

Figgy Bars
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe comes from the Cal Fresh Figs Web site, so please find it there. The only difference is they call it fig bars, not figgy. :)

To make these, you basically make a fig jam and layer it in between a crumbly oat mixture and bake it in the oven. I used a local honey with the figs for a very fresh farmers' market taste. The figs had to be cooked for two hours on the stove, which made them rich, sweet, and even softer, but I was hoping for the figs to lose even more of their shape. The resulting flavor was less fig newton and more fresh figs, which is great for featuring the flavor. I warned my co-workers that they would "really have to like fresh figs" to like these bars, but they were gone really quickly.

I would have liked the crumbly mixture to be less crumbly, so I would recommend cutting back either on the oats or flour.

Categories: Figs, Cookies

Fresh figs

Fresh figs
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
A co-worker brought me some fresh figs to bake with, and I had never used fresh figs before! It was exciting.

I thought that all this time I hadn't been baking with figs because I never had any fresh ones, but most recipes (particularly for baked goods) actually call for dried figs. I especially was hoping to make cucidati, an Italian Christmas cookie I had in St. Louis, but all the recipes used dried figs. I will be making them eventually, just not for this purpose.

The best web site I found for fresh figs is the California Fresh Fig Growers Association. There is also an intriguing but simple recipe in an aphrodisiac cookbook that I have (Intercourses) for figs served with honey that I plan to try with the last pint.

It is an interesting experience to bite into a fresh fig. The skin isn't tough, but you can definitely feel it. Really fresh figs are very soft and sweet, and while the seeds are there they aren't as prominent as in a dried fig.

Please read further entries for what I did with the figs! Oh yeah, and from a co-worker, God hates figs.

Categories: Figs

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Peach Crumb Cake

Peach Crumb Cake
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
This recipe comes from the Food Network, and was just one of several recipes I printed off to use up some local peaches.

What a problem, right? Having too many peaches?

This coffee cake type treat was... okay. Not peachy enough for me. I would have been happier baking the crumb cake and then serving it with fresh peaches; this would have made a peachier flavor.

Categories: Peaches, Coffee Cake

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Streusel-Topped Blueberry Cream Pie

I made this pie from time to time at the tearoom I used to make desserts for, but I can't remember where I found the recipe. No copyright infringement intended! A creamy cheesecake layer is topped by fresh blueberries and a nutty streusel. While you could make it with canned or frozen, I would suggest blueberries fresh from the farmer's market. And don't leave out the fresh lemon zest and juice! It really makes the pie special.

1 9" pie crust, unbaked*
2 eggs, beaten
6 oz cream cheese, softened
16 oz sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups blueberries
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine 2 eggs and cream cheese; beat at medium speed until smooth. Add sour cream and next 5 ingredients. Stir well. Pour mixture into pastry lined pie dish. Coat blueberries with cornstarch. Sprinkle coated blueberries over filling. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes.

Combine 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add walnuts. Sprinkle over partially baked pie. Bake an additional 25-30 minutes, until center doesn't jiggle loosely. Chill 1 hour or overnight before serving.

*I would actually recommend a 10" pie plate. Or a really deep dish 9" one. Otherwise you'll start adding the blueberries and everything will overflow. It will still taste good, but if this happens you might consider placing the pie plate on another baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. I may know this from experience.

Categories: Blueberries, Pie

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This is a family recipe that has been around for a long time, so I apologize, I don't know where it comes from originally.

The best memory with these cookies is actually a time they were inedible - my Mom misread the ingredients and put too much salt, and sent them to me at camp where they looked great but nobody would eat them.

Sometimes when I want an easy cookie, these beat out the regular chocolate chip. Don't leave the chocolate chips out, the cocoa powder itself doesn't lend to a chocolatey enough cookie.

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter (I always use half margarine, half butter for texture)
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla (I usually double it or use double strength vanilla)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats (although old fashioned make them chewier)
1 package (2 cups) chocolate chips*

Heat oven to 350 F. Cream sugar and butter. Mix in egg, water, and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes (I had to do 14).

*If you don't care about super chocolateyness, you can substitute any kind of chip. I have used peanut butter and mint before with success (not at the same time!).

Categories: Chocolate, Cookies

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Peach Cardamom Cobbler

Peach Cardamom Cobbler
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I adapted a few cobbler recipes to make this. The use of cardamom made it really special!

So here it is:

Peach Cardamom Cobbler

3 lbs fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease or spray a 9x13 pan.

Prepare peaches and layer in pan. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over peaches. Bake until golden brown and peaches are bubbling, 35-40 minutes.

Categories: Peaches, Baked Fruit

Monday, July 24, 2006

First post

I was talking a lot about baking and cooking in my regular blog and decided to move it to one place. Here it will be!