Molten Chocolate Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10-15 minutes | Total Time: 20-25 minutes | Yield: 1 pie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 TBSP margarine
  • 15 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Melt margarine and chocolate in heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring until melted and hot to the touch. Turn off heat.
  3. Whip eggs, egg yolks and sugar until light and stiff.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture in a steady stream.
  5. Spray insides of four 4-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray.
  6. Spoon mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake until set on the oust side but still liquid in the center, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Recipe Origin: Torn from a magazine years ago.

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Bakery Brownies

Notes: We made this without the nuts, just because we didn’t have any. Everyone loved these brownies. Next time I’ll try them with nuts.

Servings: 24 | Total Time: About 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, plus extra for greasing the 9×13 dish.
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used the Ghirardelli chocolate bars you find in the baking section)
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6.38 oz flour, or 1- 1/2 cups if you don’t have scales
  • 2 – 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
  3. 1n a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer using paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Turn mixer to low. Beat in melted chocolate. Add salt and flour and beat just until combined. Gently fold in nuts.
  6. Pour batter into pan. Bake in center of oven until puffed and almost set, about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted will be slightly moist. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Origin:  Printed originally in the LA Times. Recipe here.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Notes: I think this is the recipe I made for our oldest daughter’s 1st birthday cake and frosting.

Servings: | Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 TBSP cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed of your mixer. Add milk and vanilla and mix well.

Recipe Origin:  Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Carrot cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Notes: I think this is the recipe I made for our oldest daughter’s 1st birthday cake.

Servings: 8-10 | Prep Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (White Lily)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • zest of 1 orange (1 TBSP)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (approx. 6 carrots)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spread chopped pecans on a baking sheet, and toast for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Line 2 greased 9 inch cake pans with wax paper and set aside.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Cream together butter and sugar in your stand mixer on medium speed.
  6. Add eggs 1 at a time. Add milk and half of flour mixture. Blend well. Add remaining flour mixture gradually.
  7. Stir in orange zest and juice, vanilla, grated carrot and toasted nuts. Divide batter evenly into cake pans.
  8. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  9. Let layers cool in pans for 10 minutes. Take out of pans and put on cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  10. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Recipe Origin:  Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Notes: Heavy, dense, creamy. My favorite pound cake recipe. The original recipe makes 2 pound cakes, which is too much for us. This recipe has been redone so it makes only 1 cake.

Servings: ? | Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (White Lily)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray standard loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat just until incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; using spatula, slightly mound batter in center of each pan to encourage doming. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the cakes comes out clean, but with a few moist crumbs still attached, about 50 minutes.
  5. Place the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.

Recipe Origin:  Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Apple Pie 2013

Time: Needs to be no object when making this | Yield: 1 amazing pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
  • 5 Granny Smith and 5 Jonathan apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup sugar, plus additional for pie top
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough into two 1/8-inch-thick circles to a diameter slightly larger than that of an 11-inch plate. Press one pie crust into the pie plate. Place the other crust on waxed paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill all pastry until firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with 6 TBSP butter and cover with remaining pie crust. Cut several steam vents across top. Seal by crimping edges as desired. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional sugar.
  3. Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

Notes: This was a huge hit at Thanksgiving this year. It made a beautiful, tall pie. The crust was outstanding. The original recipe called for all the apples to be Granny Smith. This was too tart,and next time I will do 1/2 Jonathan and 1/2 Granny Smith. I will also slice the apples thinly, like my Great Granny used to. I made this a day ahead of time and we ate it cold the next day. It was delicious. I might cut the nutmeg down to 1/4 tsp next time.

Recipe Origin: Originally from Martha Stewart. I changed the amount of sugar to offset the tartness of the apples, and increased the butter on the inside of the pie. I also changed the mixture of apples.

Sweet Potato Pie with Quenelles

Prep Time: Needs to be no object when making this. | Yield: 1 outstanding pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 2¼ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 2¼ teaspoons vodka
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • ⅔ cup whole milk

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Make crust: In the bowl of a food processor, mix flour, salt and butter together on low. Pour vodka and ice water in as dough is mixing and incorporate so dough barely holds together. Turn out and press together, forming a small disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough, rotating periodically, into a circle 13 inches across and about ¼-inch thick. Place dough in a 9-inch pie pan and trim excess. Use a fork to poke holes in dough. Chill in refrigerator 15 minutes.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on top and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake 30 minutes. (Go to step 5 while you are waiting for pie shell to bake.)
  4. Remove weights and parchment, and continue baking until fully cooked, 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let shell cool completely. Decrease temperature to 300 degrees.
  5. Make filling: Prick potatoes with a fork and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon water. Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil. Place in oven and bake until tender, 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Peel and purée in a food processor until smooth. Set aside 1½ cups purée for filling.
  6. In a bowl, whisk potato purée, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and ginger until smooth. Add milk and stir to combine. Place mixture in baked pie shell. Bake, rotating after 25 minutes, until filling sets, 45-60 minutes. Let cool completely.
  7. Once pie is cool, make whipped cream: Use an electric mixer to whip all ingredients to stiff peaks.
  8. Make quenelles: Google this if you don’t know how. I only understood how to do this once I watched a few videos. It’s not hard. Arrange quenelles around outer edge of pie, or around the center, like the petals of a flower.

Notes: This was a huge hit at Thanksgiving this year. The crust was outstanding. I would make this crust for any pie in the future. The quenelles are a nice touch. Make them on the same day the pie will be eaten, and put the leftover whipped cream in a pretty serving dish with a spoon.

Recipe Origin: Originally from the Wall Street Journal. I changed it to use food processor to make the crust. I would also cut the nutmeg in the quenelles by half next time.