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Showing posts from March, 2018

Sour Cream Pancakes:

Breakfast food really is my very favorite food. Eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, quiche, frittata, french toast, bread pudding, muffins, doughnuts, eggs benedict- and of course, the humble pancake. Pancakes are easy to make, yet deliver so much- they have a tender, moist cake crumb, perform fantastically as butter and syrup delivery systems, and are the classic weekend morning comfort breakfast food. I love sour cream pancakes because they are incredibly moist and delicious, and extra decadent. I use sour cream in my cakes all the time to up increase moistness and richness; it works much the same here. It also adds a really lovely mild tang to these pancakes and increases fluffiness- try them and see! Ingredients: Batter: 1 cup sour cream (full fat) ½ cup flour 2 eggs 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon melted butter More butter for frying Method: Whisk together the flour, salt and baking

Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Gelee and Fresh Fruit

Panna cotta, or cooked cream, is an immensely easy dessert to make yet has a gorgeous presentation; it’s the perfect dessert for a dinner party. Make it ahead of time, then whisk it out to wow your guests. Best of all, while this dessert is sweet and creamy, it is also light and refreshing. Serve it after a particularly rich, impressive multi-course meal and it will go down a treat. For this version, I decided to veer into a tropical flavor. Instead of the usual vanilla, I choose to use coconut milk. The traditional fresh fruit pairing for coconut is mango for me, so it became the colorful fruit gelee layered on top. For extra color, sweetness and tang, I used fresh strawberries and kiwis as garnish.  If you’ll excuse me, my party was only for 5 last night and I have a 6th panna cotta calling my name…. Ingredients: Panna Cotta: 1 1/2 cups coconut milk 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 water 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract 2 env

Unicorn Cake

Whenever I have an occasion to make a fun cake, I jump at the chance. This spectacular unicorn cake I baked for my coworker’s daughter’s birthday. I have seen this cake made on other blogs and watched how-to videos on youtube, and had been itching to make it for quite some time. However, as a 30-something year old, I really didn’t have a good excuse to make it that would justify the time, money and energy that went into this super fun, Lisa-Frank-esque cake.  Thankfully, my coworker’s young daughter and I share a great love of pastel unicorns. She wanted a unicorn cake for her birthday and I leapt into action. I had the fondant, the silver spray and a plan as to how to make her vision come to life on the outside of the cake; I also wanted to make a multi-layer pastel-colored cake bursting with sprinkles so that it was as fun to slice and eat as it was to look at from the outside. Plus, this is a darned delicious cake to boot!  Enjoy! Vanilla Cake: Ingredients:

Pasta alla puttanesca

Pasta alla puttanesca is a super-flavorful, super cheap dish to make. All the ingredients are shelf stable so you can stock up on them and whip up this dish anytime the mood strikes you. You’ll see anchovies in the ingredient list: please, please, even if you think you HATE them, try this dish once with them. They don’t make the dish fishy, they add deep umami nuttiness to the dish. They are an essential background flavor. Don’t deprive yourself of that flavor note due to preconceived notions about anchovies! The name of the dish mean pasta in the style of a prostitute. Legend has it that ladies of the evening would make this dish and leave it by the window. The smell would lure men to their door. It’s a Neapolitan dish and rose to popularity in the mid-twentieth century. I first read about it in the children’s book The Bad Beginning in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and then had to have it for myself. You might make it for yourself one night and read the b

Mama’s Shepherd Pie

This recipe is sheer comfort food for me; my mother made this casserole for us growing up and it’s one of the first things I ever learned to cook. It’s also one of my husband’s very favorite comfort food classics.  Now, this dish is not really shepherd’s pie. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, so this dish would more accurately be called cottage pie, which is made with ground beef. But this casserole is still wrong; cottage pie does used ground beef and mashed potatoes, but the ground beef mixture in real cottage pie has peas and carrots and flour and is cooked into a thick meat sauce, and topped with mashed potatoes, no cheese added. This version comes from my mom’s family, and uses no peas or carrots, but canned corn and cheese. This dish is probably not cool or hip or trendy, but it is delicious. It’s really easy to make, feeds a ton, and the leftovers heat up like a dream. It’s a very cold, very snowy day here today, and this was just the thing I needed after sh

Easy Blueberry Muffins

Is there anything as glorious as a warm, freshly baked blueberry muffin? On a cold snowy morning paired with a cup of coffee, I’d say there is no treat more delicious. These blueberry muffins are super easy to make; just a few minutes of mixing and you are good to go. No streusel, not adding wet and dry ingredients in alternating additions, and I use frozen blueberries when I don’t have fresh on hand. In typical Mary fashion, I add a pat of butter to each muffin half, but these muffins are delicious without any further adornment. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened butter 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup light cream 1/4 cup sour cream 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries Method: Preheat the oven to to 375 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at

Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies with Chocolate Ganache

I believe I mentioned it was my boss’s birthday recently? I had decided to make her honey-flavored cupcakes, to drive the theme of our office home for her birthday. I was worried, however, that those cupcakes might be her perfect cup of tea. They were orange, floral and wonderfully sweet, but I know in my heart my boss’s favorite flavor combo: chocolate and peanut butter. I do not believe that there is any conundrum in the world that can’t be solved by baking more goodies, so I decided to double down on her birthday. I wanted to make bee-themed chocolate and peanut butter cookies, but how?  With some experimentation, I came up with a peanut butter cookie dough I could roll, cut out and would keep it’s shape when baking. Topping it with my trusty chocolate ganache was a no brainer. All I needed was to buy a few bee-themed cookie cutters. The result? Delightful and delicious peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1/2 cup creamy peanut butte

Honey Bee Cupcakes

It’s my boss’s birthday, and in recognition I decided to go with a bee theme. Our business name is related to bees, and on our group office chat her screen name is The Queen Bee. Honey Bee cupcakes seemed to fit the bill perfectly! These cupcakes are tender, sweet and lightly honey-flavored. I added the orange zest to emphasize the floral notes of the orange clover honey I used. The frosting is sweet and easy to pipe into a hive shape to really drive the theme home. I found delightful little candy bees at my local cake decorating shop to put these cupcakes over the top. A drizzle of honey as a finishing touch and I could almost hear busy little bees buzzing! These are a perfect cupcake to bake this spring for a themed birthday, baby shower, easter party or any fun celebration. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cups sugar 1/2 cup softened butter 2 eggs at room temperature 1/4 cup pl