Thursday, July 2, 2009

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Molasses Cookies

My friend, Sydney, brought me over some cookies one night. My husband and I devoured them. They were amazing. She was willing to share this fabulous recipe, and I think you all should go make a batch right now. I'm serious.

Molasses Cookies

Recipe from Sydney R's Great-Grandma Sydney Minnette

3/4 C shortening (not butter)
1 C sugar
1/4 C dark molasses
1 egg
2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, extra if desired
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix shortening, sugar, molasses and egg in big bowl. Mix all dry
ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and
mix until well blended. Dough should be fairly stiff.

Separate dough into 1” balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheet
with about an inch separating each ball of dough. Bake for 7-9
minutes until the top of the cookie is cracking and the cookie has
flattened out a bit. Leave cookies on cookie sheet for about 5
minutes. These cookies are delicious warm and fresh or later in the
cookie jar, but will also keep very well in a Ziploc bag in the

German Chocolate Cake

My husband turned 30 this week. Hard to believe we're entering that phase of life. The birthday card I gave him pretty much sums things up: "I think everything happens for a reason. For example, people turn 30 because the fun part of their life has ended." Happy birthday, hon!

I really enjoy making birthday cakes. The fancy kind. All from scratch and with multiple layers. This year my husband chose a German chocolate cake. Did you know that this cake isn't even German? The cake took its name from an American with the last name of "German." Sam German created the mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852. The company name the chocolate in his honor - "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate." In most recipes and products today, the apostrophe and the "s" have been dropped, thus giving the false hint as for the chocolate's origin.

Anyway, on to the recipe. These are the raw ingredients I used. I would have used a better chocolate, but my husband chose the cake around 11:30 pm the night before his birthday, and I started baking the next morning.

I used Martha Stewart's recipe, and I was a little disappointed. It wasn't as moist as I would have liked, and it didn't make enough frosting. So, if I had to do it over, I would have divided it up into 3 separate pans and cooked for a shorter amount of time. And, I would have doubled the frosting recipe. Here's the link to Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting (aka German Chocolate Cake).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Father's Day

We had a great Father's Day. Very relaxing and enjoyable. And, my husband got to grill up some burgers. Awesome!

I was debating whether or not to make Bakerella's fast food for the dessert. The question: is it too cute for my husband? Probably. But I just couldn't resist!

My husband's reaction was classic - he just stared at them in amazement and kept asking how I made it. He was very surprised and concluded that he needed to "up the ante" for my holiday desserts in the future. I'm excited to see what he pulls out of his hat for my birthday! :)

Finally - a picture in the daylight. See what a difference that makes?

Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake


A couple of weeks ago I made the declaration to my husband that I wanted to make a dessert. Not cookies because that's always my default. I wanted to make a cake. The one that came to mind was Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake. I had seen her blog entry previously and thought it would be the perfect compromise for me and my husband - I love anything with cream cheese, and he loves anything with strawberry shortcake. Voila! Enter Pioneer Woman!

Unfortunately I found that I only had enough powdered sugar to make about 1/3 of the frosting recipe. This actually turned out to be ok for us. My husband is of the opinion that less is more when it comes to frosting, and this was the case with this cake. It was really good. You should go make it.

Note: I know that my picture is less than great, but I always seem to bake at night. This means bad lighting. I may have to invest in a daylight lamp or something so my pictures will look better. Either that, or I need to start waking up early and baking. Hmmm, quite the dilemma...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fabulous Lemon Cake

I have made this recipe 3 times now, and every time I make it I get rave reviews (granted, twice it was for the same people, but that's because they asked me to make it again). It really is delicious. Very moist and full of lemon flavor. My husband and I were trying to figure out why people like this so much, and I've decided that it's because it's different from your everyday dessert. I mean, how often do you eat a dessert of just lemon?

A few tips of mine. The recipe calls for 6 to 8 lemons, but I only use 4. It gives me all of the zest I need and all of the juice I need. I use 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water in the syrup, and I don't feel obligated to use all of the syrup on the cake. I do think it helps to make the cake really moist so I wouldn't omit it. But just use your best judgment of how much it needs when it comes to spooning it on the cake.

Oh yeah, one more thing. If I need it for a luncheon, I make the cakes the night before and put the syrup on. Then the next morning I add the glaze and let it set. It tastes just as good as it would have if it had been baked fresh that morning, but it saves a whole lot of time and stress in the morning!

Lemon Cake from Barefoot Contessa Parties!


* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
* 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
* 3 cups flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
* 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

* 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
* 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rice Pudding

We had some milk that needed to be used up, so I decided to make some rice pudding. I looked at a few different recipes and couldn't find one that was exactly what I wanted so I improvised. I already had some cooked rice so that had to be a key ingredient. I also wanted to have more of a custard pudding, so adding an egg was the trick there.

I was very pleased with the rice pudding in the end. It was very thick, rich, and creamy. The second day we added a little milk to loosen it up and it was just as tasty. My husband and I ate it all up so fast (2 days when it should have taken us a week) that I didn't even get a picture!

Rice Pudding

3 ½ cups cooked rice, at room temperature
2 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups half and half
1 cup cream
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten well
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins

Combine rice, milk, half and half, cream, sugar and salt in a large heavy pot. Cook over medium high heat until mixture begins to simmer, stirring continuously. Reduce heat so that the mixture is at a low simmer, continuing to stir until mixture becomes thickened (about 25 minutes). Add beaten egg very slowly and mix well to combine. Simmer for another minute. Add vanilla, cinnamon and raisins and stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.