Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

November 22, 2011

My Granddad, “Pop-pop Roy”, as I called him when I was younger, loved these Apple Dumplings. Grandda wasn’t a big sweets eater. Other than those Apple Dumplings, my only memory of him indulging in any sugary treat was Ginger Snaps. He did love his Ginger Snaps. I have fond memories of sitting on his lap when I was about 4 or 5, watching “Hogan’s Heros” and sharing those cookies. He would put each cookie on his knee, put his thumb right in the center and press down. The cookie would neatly break into 4 equal pieces and he’d give two to me and take two for his own.

Granddad at 2 1/2 years. He's the little one in the white hat.

Other than those cookies, desserts were scarce in his house. But he did have a weakness for Apple Dumplings. My Mom would always make up a batch of Apple Dumplings for him on Thanksgiving. In fact, he would always make sure to inquire a weeks or so ahead of time as to whether they were on the menu or not. (They always were :) )No matter what manner of other exotic and alluring desserts were up for grabs that day, he would always choose the Apple Dumpling. Mom would then package up several more for him to take home.

Couldn't resist another of these pics. Granddad is the one in the middle.

Granddad passed away at the age of 91 in 2008. We still make his Apple Dumplings on Thanksgiving.

Pop-pop Roy (1917-2008)

As it turns out, my husband also loves Apple Dumplings. When we were first dating, we went to my parents house for Thanksgiving Dinner. Like Grandda, Jay chose the Apple Dumpling, topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream (of course!) for his dessert. We had been doing the South Beach Diet pretty intensely in the months leading up to this and had decided to totally ignore it for the day and eat whatever we wanted. Well, the incredibly tasty and sweet Apple Dumpling was quite a shock to his previously sugar starved system and he went into a sort of sugar coma. Unfortunately it was while he was driving us home! You know how you sometimes say that a particular treat is “to die for”? Yeah, well we almost did! I guess it wasn’t really that bad. It just involved him attempting to continue straight on as the road turned. I can just see us trying to explain it to the law…”No really Officer, I haven’t been drinking. It was Pop-pop Roy’s Apple Dumpling!” It all ended just fine. No harm done. I was not in a sugar coma and after the swerving, believe me, I was wide awake. I switched places with him and drove us the rest of the way home, while he slept it off. The experience did not scare Jay away from Apple Dumplings at all, though he definitely respects their power now. And he made sure I learned that recipe from my Mom. Indeed I did and I just made up a batch.

Hot out of the oven!

They taste fantastic! I used my beloved HoneyCrisp apples for these, and yes, I use a whole apple rubbed in cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg for each dumpling. Then I top each sugar and spiced apple with a knob of butter and cover them with a short crust. Once they are completely enrobed in that buttery pastry, I drizzle a decadent gooey cinnamon syrup over them and pop them in the oven to bake. The house smells amazing!

The Apple Dumplings are delicious! And they remind me of my Granddad. Make some for your family this Fall;  they will absolutely swoon. Just make sure no one has to drive that evening!

Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Recipe from: my Mum!

yield: 6 Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 cup butter plus more to dab onto each apple before covering with pastry
  • 6 small to medium apples

for the pastry:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg to saucepan. Cook on medium heat until sugar melts and mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until incorporated.

Pare and core apples. Set aside.

Place flour, salt and baking powder in food processor. Pulse just to combine. Cut chilled butter into 1″ cubes. Add to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and pulse until dough forms.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into six 5 inch squares.

Arrange an apple on each square. Sprinkle generously with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with butter.

Fold pastry around apple until it is entirely covered. Place Dumplings 1 inch apart in greased  9×13″ baking pan. Pour the prepared syrup over the dumplings.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is browned and apple is softened. You can check the apple texture by poking it with a wooden skewer or knife. If pastry is getting to brown, but apples aren’t yet soft enough, cover with foil.

Enjoy! but remember – friends don’t let friends drive under the influence of these dumplings!


Witches’ Froth

October 28, 2011

Oooooooo! Spooky, Spooky! That’s right, this is the dessert that is a favourite among all witches’ covens. Witches’ Froth is a baked apple mousse. Very light, apple-y and refreshing, especially so after we’ve been chowing down on all of those heavy Halloween chocolate goodies. I first came across this recipe all the way back in May on the blog, Girl Cooks World: Gluten Free Recipes from Around the Globe. Apparently this is a Hungarian dessert (Boszorkanyhab in that language…I think I’ll just stick with calling it “Witches’ Froth)

It has a bunch of stuff I love like apples and vanilla and booze (not Jack Daniels this time but Rum). I knew this would be a perfect and unique adult treat for Halloween and have been planning on whipping it up ever since. I was not disappointed. Very yummy and once the apples are done baking, it comes together in a snap. I served this treat a couple of different ways, in spooky fall tree glasses and as a cute mini dessert/taster  in little dark Belgian chocolate cordial & toasting cups topped with candy corn.

Witches’ Froth

Recipe from: Girl Cooks World

Yields: 4 servings in glasses and many little dessert cups

Ingredients:

  •  4 baking apples
  •  1 cup vanilla sugar
  •  2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  •  2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  •  whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and bake the apples for 50-60 minutes, until softened.  Let them cool, peel and core them, and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the egg whites and sugar and beat 10 minutes with an electric mixer, until fluffy and thick.  Add the rum and lemon juice and continue beating for another 5 minutes.

Spoon into individual serving glasses or bowls and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: This dessert uses raw egg whites, so please be aware that there is a small risk of salmonella contamination.


I scream, you scream…Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

August 15, 2011

Yummy! Home-made Ice Cream is a wonderfully nostalgic summer indulgence for many folks. As a kid I can remember our neighbor had an old ice cream maker complete with a hand crank and all that rock salt, that he would roll out during the summer months. I don’t know if the ice cream that came from that contraption was really that much better, or it was the whole seemingly magical experience that made it seem so. Flash forward to present day and you will find that Jay and I have invested in a modern, Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and I can definitely say it produces some fantastic ice cream and there is no hand crank with which to toil away. :) We recently took advantage of the outstanding strawberries found in abundance this summer and made some Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream. It was so creamy and delicious, it would truly give Ben & Jerry a run for their money if I do say so myself.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Yield: Makes ten 1/2 Cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Cup sugar, divided
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Strain the berries, reserving juices. Mash or puree half the berries.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low-speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 -2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries and vanilla.

Turn your Ice Cream maker on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from The Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker Recipe Booklet.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

July 24, 2011

Sheesh! It’s been HOT around here. I know, I know…it’s summer in Virginia. What did I think it would be like? Well, I knew it would be hot, but I wasn’t thinking it would be over 100°F. Not to mention that our lovely Virginia humidity has kicked it and had it feeling like it was 120°F!!! We’re talking serious record-breaking HEAT! Well, I’m sorry. That is totally out of line! No one signed up for this suffocating nonsensical weather! No one wants to feel like their walking into a blast furnace every time they open the front door. It’s too dang HOT! That’s why these frozen banana pops were just right for dessert! Chocolatey, peanut buttery, frozen nostalgia on a stick. Awesome! Very easy to prepare and guaranteed to make folks smile. These frozen yummies might even make you momentarily forget the state of the mercury outside. I must admit, it didn’t really work on me. But then again, I am somewhat permanently grumpy during the summer months in Virginia….

Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

recipe from Back to her Roots

Yield: 8 frozen Banana treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag chocolate chips – I used dark chocolate, but use whatever chip you prefer :)
  • 1/4 heaping Cup of peanut butter
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 8 Candy-making sticks or wooden skewers
  • Whatever Toppings you prefer. I used mini chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers and multi-coloured cake sprinkles. Some other ideas-crushed up peanuts or the nut of your choosing, white chocolate chips, mini M&M’s or your favourite candy bar crushed up, coconut…get creative!

Directions:

Peel the bananas. Cut  a bit off of each end and then cut bananas in half.

Gently insert skewer in the bottom of each banana.

Place skewered bananas on cookie sheet and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes.

While bananas are chillin out, prepare the toppings of your choice.

Shortly before bananas are due to come out of the freezer, prepare the chocolate peanut butter coating. In a microwave safe bowl, place the bag of chocolate chips and the heaping 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Nuke the mixture for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted and thoroughly combined.

Remove bananas from freezer. Dip each banana half into chocolate peanut butter coating, using a spoon to aid in completely covering the banana with the coating. Gently shake off excess coating.

Before chocolate can completely harden, dip pop into your chosen topping, twirling and/or using a spoon to distribute topping equally over the length of the pop.

Place covered banana pops back on cookie sheet and put back in freezer for 1-2 hours.

Store in freezer in freezer-safe ziplock bags.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

July 21, 2011

Heavens! I knew this recipe was going to be great the moment I saw it on Food on Fifth and I sure was right! Spoonbread is a slightly sweet cornmeal based dish popular in the southern U.S. I don’t know why it’s mostly popular there. They must be keeping it a bit of a secret cause it is super tasty. Jay and I just finished scarfing down our first servings, and it will be time for seconds any moment now! Spoonbread is really not so much “bread” but more like a soufflé or an airy cornmeal bread pudding. When you add in those fresh blueberries…it’s just unbelievably yummy. I couldn’t even figure out how to classify it…is it for breakfast or is it a dessert? I do declare, the answer is that it is for both and probably several other meals of the day if you’re lucky.

Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

recipe from Food on Fifth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt – the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt, which is what I used. My husband totally digs salt, so he was quite pleased with it. If you don’t like as much salt, you could probably reduce it by 1/2.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In saucepan bring buttermilk and sugar to low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of pan, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn heat down to low and stir with the whisk for 8 minutes. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Set aside.

Whisk butter and vanilla into cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended.

Stir in cream with whisk.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour 1/2 mixture into buttered baking dish and top with 1/2 blueberries. Spread the rest of cornmeal mixture over berries. Top with a scattering of the remaining berries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown and it is firm but wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

* This recipe doesn’t make a whole mess of spoonbread. The dish I used is an 8×10 oval gratin style dish. An 8×8 dish would likely work fine. Or individual ramekins might be nice.


Root Beer Float Cupcakes

July 10, 2011

Have Mercy! My kitchen is in shambles, every dish is dirty, it is a true, honest to goodness mess. But do you know what I have now? Root Beer Float Cupcakes! Wait…let me say it slower…root beer…float…cupcakes! Yup…you heard me. I mean, I love root beer all on its lonesome. I love root beer floats even more. And well, anyone who knows me knows I have a BIG thing for cupcakes. I’ve got all three awesome things wrapped into just one in these little dickens. They even have home-made hot fudge sauce on top. Good Lord! Now, I must admit, these little guys were not easy to make. There were a bunch of steps, and as I mentioned, LOTS of dirty dishes. Oh well, no pain, no gain – hopefully I’m not talking about weight here, though these little gems are amazingly decadent!  It didn’t help matters that I doubled the recipe. I thought Root Beer Float Cupcakes would be perfect for a 4th of July cookout I was attending and wanted to make sure there were enough to go around.

Root Beer seems pretty “American” to me and the “Float” part is quite nostalgic. Everyone loves cupcakes, a very portable and picnic-friendly dessert. So I got to work on these. and I worked…and I worked…In all honesty, I must admit, there is nothing really hard here. Just a bit time-consuming. But it paid off in the end. The cupcakes looked fantastic and got rave reviews at the cookout. So, when you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, and a hankering for a root beer flavoured delectible…I’ve got just the thing for you!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons root beer concentrate
  • 1/3 cup root beer
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4-5 Root Beer Barrel hard candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Add root beer concentrate and root beer. Mix until batter is smooth. Line a muffin tin with liners and using a heaping 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Place root beer barrel candies in food processor and pulse until the candies are finely ground. Set aside.

Vanilla and Root Beer Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon root beer extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. On low-speed, add powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. I know, I know, this is tedious but will result in a frosty that is smooth and creamy, not grainy and you will likely not need all 4 cups of the powdered sugar to reach appropriate frosting consistency, if you add the sugar in slowly like this. Increase speed to bring the frosting together. Add milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Remove almost all of the vanilla frosting, leaving behind about 1/3-1/2 cup in the mixer. Set vanilla frosting aside. Add root beer extract to remaining frosting in the bowl and beat until it comes together.

Prep two pastry bags (or you can simply use spoons) and fill one with vanilla frosting and the other with root beer frosting. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, using your 1″ round cookie cutter or apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, cutting down 2/3 of the way through the cakes. Pipe the root beer frosting into the holes, filling each cupcake to the top. Then use the vanilla frosting filled pastry bag to finish frosting the cupcakes. Sprinkle pulverized root beer barrel candy over the top of each cupcake.

Hot Fudge Sauce

ingredients:

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Cup scalding milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and flour in a bowl over a double boiler. Bring milk to a boil. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.

Once it has reached your desired thickness – I like mine pretty fudgy, so I probably cooked it for about 15 -20 minutes or so – remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Store in refrigerator.

*This recipe makes a good deal of sauce, which will keep well in the fridge.You will have lots left over for ice cream topping, or actual root beer floats in the future!

Fill another pastry bag with hot fudge sauce, which has reached room temperature,  and pipe a large dollop of fudge on the very top center of each cupcake. The fudge will flow down the sides a bit. Place maraschino cherry on top of each cake.

Enjoy!


Strawberry, Blueberry & White Chocolate Mousse Tart

July 4, 2011

It’s hot outside. Yup…lower 90’s. Oh and don’t forget humid. We got lots of that going on here as well. It’s a typical 4th of July in Virginia. In fact, this year’s Independence Day weather isn’t as bad as some of the sweltering holidays I remember in the not too distant past where the mercury shot up to somewhere slightly above 100! That sultry temperature is more the norm this time of year. Funny that most Americans seem to mark the 4th of July holiday by holding picnics and barbeques…outside…in the heat. Seems to me, our Founding Father’s might have taken the average temperature in July under consideration when the Continental Congress adopted and signed the Declaration of Independence back on that momentous day in 1776. I’m not suggesting that they should have waited to sign such an important document until milder temperatures arrived. But perhaps they could’ve indicated that a date in late September would be much more desirable for its future commemoration.  I think they might have been lulled into a false sense of meteorological security by the unseasonably mild weather they were experiencing in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Thomas Jefferson recorded in his journal a low temperature of 68° F and a high of  a mere 76°F. The average in hot and humid Philadelphia at that time of year is more like 85°F. I would love a 76 degree 4th…but enough about that. I’ll just turn my attention from the weather outside (oh yes, I am most definitely inside, loving my new AC unit) to all things red, white and blue for Independence Day. I’ve been chomping at the bit to make a Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart that I saw over at the Galley Gourmet way back in April. I thought I could add some lovely fresh blueberries to the recipe and have a wonderfully patriotic looking dessert to bring to my friend Jeff’s 4th of July cook-out/pool party.

This dish was very easy to make. One thing you do want to keep in mind though, is that with this dessert, you need to start preparing it at least 1 day ahead of time to allow the mousse to set and perhaps even two days ahead if you would like your tart dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight. But with a little planning, you get great results. The dish looked incredibly yummy, held with the red, white and blue, star-spangled, Yankee Doodle theme of the day and needless to say, a chilled tart was certainly a refreshing dessert on a steamy summer evening. I know I will be making this one again soon. The summer has only just begun…(sigh)

Strawberry, Blueberry & White Chocolate Mousse Tart

Recipe very slightly adapted (I added blueberries) from The Galley Gourmet

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the Tart Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 9 Tablespoons (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra large egg
For the White Chocolate Mousse:
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 extra large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Directions:
For the Tart Dough:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface.  Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the edge of the pan.  Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on a rack to cool completely.
For the White Chocolate Mousse:
Combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup whipping cream in a large heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth.  Remove the bowl and allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm, about 15 minutes. (I actually melted my chocolate in the microwave, stirring after each 10 seconds until it was completely melted.)  In small bowl, combine the gelatin and water.  Allow the mixture to bloom for 5 minutes.  Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave and cook until melted, about 5 seconds.  In a large bowl, beat the remaining cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add the gelatin mixture and beat until combined.  Using clean dry beaters or a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Chill overnight.
In a small saucepan, combine the jam and lemon juice over medium heat; stirring until the jam melts. Remove from the heat.  Arrange the sliced strawberries in concentric circles on top of the set mousse.  Add blueberries around the edges and in center of tart. Gently brush the berries with the melted jam mixture.  Serve immediately or chill the tart for up to 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Buckles & Crisps & Crumbles…Oh My! Blueberry Buckle

June 29, 2011

Now lets see…there are Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, Buckles, Grunts, Slumps, Brown Bettys and Pandowdies. “Oh my”,  indeed! What do all of the aforementioned things have in common? They are all rustic, regional fruit desserts, made with whatever fresh fruit ingredient is available at the time. There are a few differences however. Please indulge me as I describe each dish as best I can, though I’m sure regional differences abound. What some folks might call a crisp, I’m sure others would know as a crumble. Yet, here we go…

Cobbler: An American deep dish fruit dessert with a pie or biscuit crust. The dish can be either entirely enclosed in pastry on dotted with drops of biscuit, giving it an appearance similar to a cobbled street.

Crisps & Crumbles: A dessert which has fruit on the bottom with a crumbled topping consisting of flour, butter, brown sugar, oatmeal and/or nuts. This dish is baked. What Americans call a crisp is often referred to as a crumble in Britain.

Betty or Brown Betty: This fruit dish, most commonly made with apples, is similar to a crisp. However, instead of placing all of the fruit on the bottom and covering it with a topping, this dessert has layers of the fruit alternating with layers of buttery bread crumbs.

Grunt or Slump: These fruit desserts are very similar. They are both dumpling like puddings. A Slump is cooked on the stove top whereas a Grunt is steam cooked.

Pandowdy: This dessert is like a cobbler, but it’s crust has been broken up and pushed down into the fruit so that it can soak up the fruit juices. The result is that it becomes more like a bread pudding.

Buckle: A buckle is very similar to a coffee cake. It is a cake with berries folded into the batter that has a streusel topping. This topping gives it a buckled appearance.

What we’re dealing with here in this post, as you can clearly see now that all the definitions are out-of-the-way, is a delicious Blueberry Buckle recipe. Blueberries are in season now. Everyone is looking around to see what fabulous tasty treats they can make with all those bushels of blueberries they’ve just picked. I’m telling you…you’ve got to make this buckle! It is literally bursting with blueberries.

The cake merely serves as a thin matrix to hold all those berries together. It is really easy to prepare and every single person you feed it to will go crazy for it. I know all of my various descriptions above indicated that these fruit dishes were desserts. I can definitely see that. However, the Blueberry Buckle, being similar to a coffee cake is great for breakfast, or tea, or a midnight snack even.

Sure if you pop some whipped cream on the top or a scoop of ice cream down next to it, it’s also a most welcome dessert. I’m just saying its very versatile.  Don’t miss out on this one!

Blueberry Buckle

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who found it in Cook’s Illustrated

Makes one 9″ Buckle

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries (about 20 oz)

Directions:

To make the streusel: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt on low to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps.  With the mixer still on low, add the butter and beat until it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients, about 2-3 minutes – the mixture will resemble wet sand.  Transfer the streusel to another bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with a round of parchment, then spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together then set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just about incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish stirring – the batter will be very thick.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; spread in an even layer.  To top with the streusel – pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze to form a clump.  Break this large clump into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the batter.  Continue until you’ve used all of the streusel.  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert it onto the rack.  Remove the parchment then turn the cake streusel side up and let cool on the wire rack.

Enjoy!


Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake – There really is whiskey in the jar!

June 13, 2011

Whack for my daddy-o

Whack for my daddy-o

There’s whiskey in the jar!

Ever since I saw the recipe for the Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake baked in little pint-sized jars, I just couldn’t get this Irish folk song out of my head. Now that I’ve probably managed to get it whirling around in your own noggin, let me tell you, the only thing that will stop it from being in heavy rotation in your brain is actually making these cakes.

Well….that might be a bit of a lie. These pint-sized flourless chocolate whiskey cakes are so utterly decadent and delicious, at the first taste you’ll stop thinking about the song and likely start singing the tune out loud and at the top of your lungs. Maybe it’s the Jack Daniel’s causing all this mayhem. Hmmm…Perhaps it is a contributing factor. I mean you have to sample your sour mash whiskey before adding it to any recipes…just to make sure it hasn’t gone off. Still, these cakes are nothing short of phenomenal. Being flourless, (gluten-free for anyone interested), they have a very fudgy, chewy texture as well as a thin crisp layer just at the top. The chocolate and the Jack Daniel’s are a wonderful match, nearly melting in your mouth. I frosted my cakes with a Jack Daniel’s Buttercream icing and then sprinkled mini chocolate chip morsels on top. YUM!

Strangely, we often think a “pint-sized” thing is small, but this is quite a hefty serving of this incredibly rich cake. You may want to consider making  8 smaller versions in 1/2 pint-sized jars. I think this serving size would be plenty, but then who am I to decide what too much of a good thing is? Yeah…when you need a bit of an indulgence, make these treats. In the big, honking pint sized jar. Good ol Jack will not disappoint!

Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake

recipe posted on The Family Kitchen from Angie McGowan at Eclectic Recipes

makes four pint jars of chocolatey, whiskey cake goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter ( 1 stick)
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s whiskey
  • nonstick spray

Frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Directions:

1. In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir well. Let cool.

2. Add butter and chocolate to a large mixing bowl with sugars. Mix until well combined. Add whiskey and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix well. Add salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix very well. .

3. Pour into 4 pint jars that have been sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or until cakes pass the toothpick test. (And they have risen and fell – and don’t freak out. These cakes rise way up out of the jars when baking. Just when you think there will be a baking catastrophe, they retreat back into the jar.)

For frosting:

1. Cream softened butter in stand mixer with wire attachment.

2. Add sugar. Mix on low until combined. Turn mixer to high. Add a little of the milk or whiskey at a time, until icing is light and fluffy.

3.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 4 large servings

Note: All the whiskey does NOT cook out of the cake, so it is NOT kiddie-friendly.


Banana Brownie Bites

June 8, 2011

So I’m sure you’re your used to my flimsy excuses about bananas going bad by now. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I had two bananas which were a bit too ripe. Today I decided to turn them into delicious little brownie bites. I’m sure something this cute and tiny doesn’t actually have any calories in it to speak of, right? Well, I assure you, I’m certainly not going to be the one talking about it. These brownies are delicious! The banana flavour definitely comes through. And what a great combination, banana and chocolate. And, you not only get the chocolate chocolate, but you get some chunks of white chocolate as well! Yum!!! Keep them in mind when you find some bananas turning on you!

Banana Brownie Bites

recipe from Lemon Drop

makes 66 bites (I cut the recipe in half, so I sadly only got 33 of the little morsels)

Ingredients:

1 pound of dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup of unsalted butter
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas (med size preferred)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 ounces chopped white baking chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven 325°F
Butter and flour 8″ X 8″ square baking pan
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and dark chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mash together eggs, bananas and vanilla extract
With a wooden spoon, stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder
Fold in melted chocolate/butter
Fold in chopped white chocolate
Pour into prepared pan
Bake for 1 hr 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean & brownies are firm to the touch.

* I made half of the above recipe (I only had 2 bananas on hand) and baked the brownies in a mini muffin pan. I reduced the baking time to 15 minutes.


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