Desserts Recipes

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I have never had rhubarb prior to this recipe.

There.

I said it.

This strange red celery thing had intrigued me for a while, but I’d never worked up the guts enough to give it a try. But boy am I glad I finally did.

(My mom wasn’t sure if it was or wasn’t Revaas… but I have confirmed with Wikipedia that it is.)

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I love the mixture of tart and sweet and, from what I gathered from research, rhubarb is highly tart. This coffee cake was fabulous.The cake is just sweet enough for the rhubarb but it’s the crumbs, ohhh the crumbs, that make it delectable. The crumbs, once baked, are big boulders of deliciousness and awesome. FACT.

Note: Coffee cake is the name given to any cake with crumbles on top and not necessarily coffee flavored. Just to clarify.

Alrighty, here we go:

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Filling
3-4 stalks rhubarb (is it politically correct to call them “stalks”??)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Crumbs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 3/4 cups flour

Cake
1/3 cup buttermilk (1/3 cup milk with about 1 tsp vinegar- let it sit for about 5-10 mins)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into pieces.

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1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up your rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.

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2. Sprinkle on the sugar…

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…cornstarch…

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…and ground ginger. Mix it all together to coat all the rhubarb and set it to the side.

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3. Next we’re gonna make the crumbs. Combine the sugars…

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…cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and mix them all together to combine.

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4. Pour in the melted butter.

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5. And mix until the sugar mixture is smooth. It is imperative to mix the sugars with the butter BEFORE adding the flour in to ensure that your crumbs don’t come out all crumbly. Remember, we want big fat BOULDER crumbs, not wimpy dusty ones.

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6. Once your sugar/butter mixture is smooth, then add in the flour and mix until all the flour is wet.

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7. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a bowl. This’ll ensure maximum boulder-ness later on.

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8. Add your egg and egg yolk and vanilla to your buttermilk. and mix. Set aside for just a bit.

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9. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (oh man, I’m not gonna lie, I absolutely love using my stand mixer and thereby getting to use mixer lingo) drop in your dry cake ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt). Let the mixer start mixing to combine all the ingredients.

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10. Pour in half your egg/buttermilk mixture and beat on a higher speed. Then, add in your butter and beat until combined. Pour the other half of the egg/buttermilk mixture once the butter is dispersed throughout. Take out about 1/2 cup of batter and set aside.

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11. Scrape out the cake batter into the bottom of a 9″ cake pan (an 8″x8″ brownie pan would be fantastic… but alas, I do not own one of those). And yes, the cake batter will be thick. Don’t be alarmed. Layer on the rhubarb right on top of the cake batter.

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12. Dollop on the 1/2 cup of reserve cake batter. It doesn’t have to cover all the rhubarb.

And boy! Did it get dark between the time I put the rhubarb and the time I added the rest of the cake batter!

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13. Now, break the crumbs with a fork to separate from the bowl. Try to keep them big and wonderful so break them on top of the cake with your fingers.

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Look how fantastic that looks. And into the oven it goes for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit. Or don’t, I sure didn’t. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Mousse

I have a confession to make: I did not know the difference between mousse and pudding until recently.

*Gasp!*

I know. What a let down.

I made a chocolate pudding a while back, so it’s only natural that I follow that up with its uncooked counterpart- the chocolate mousse. Because that’s the somewhat ugly truth, this dessert contains raw eggs. So if you’re pregnant or will become pregnant, you probably may want to hold off on this one until later.

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Now, I did quite a bit of research on raw eggs before venturing on this mousse-making path.  And the general verdict is, in moderation, it’s totally fine and healthy bodies will be able to digest it, no problem.

So it’s settled! Let’s get to whippin’ up some heavenly mousse!

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Chocolate Mousse

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup very cold heavy whipping cream

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1. Get out your chocolate. Bittersweet works fabulously here.

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2. Put your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.

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3. Put your butter on top of your chocolate in your microwave-safe bowl.

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4. Microwave your butter/chocolate! Zap it for about 30 seconds, mix everything around in there, and then zap it for another 30 seconds. Stir until glossy and smooth.

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5. Separate the white from the yolk. Add the vanilla to the white and whisk it until stiff peaks form.

6. With clean mixer beaters, whip the yolk until thick and pale yellow.

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Isn’t using a hand mixer fun???

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7. Add the beaten white and the beaten yolk to the chocolate mixture and gently fold it all together until well incorporated.

8. Whip up your whipping cream until nice and peak-y.

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Top your mousse with the whipped cream and add some shaved chocolate for garnish. This was actually better after being refrigerated for about 30 minutes but I wouldn’t recommend waiting any longer. You may not be able to wait that long anyways so that shouldn’t be a problem!

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Okay, okay. I know this post is much overdue. But I have a good excuse! I was getting ready for Norooz and couldn’t post this… for three months. Sorry!

Now that I’m here and posting and all, I will tell you that you will not be disappointed. This is a foolproof dessert, one that I have made over and over with a variety of cream cheeses and fruits… and all of which turned out splendidly. I can, in all confidence, guarantee that yours will too!

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The above picture shows two batches of this “salad”. One with pomegranates in a 9″ x 13″ pan, and the other with mandarin oranges in a 9″ pie dish. I’ll list both the original recipe meant for the 9″ by 13″ with the adjusted recipe meant for the pie dish for your baking pleasures.

Fabulous Pretzel Salad

9″ x 13″ version:
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) regular salted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 (8 oz)  packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 oz) package flavored Jell-O (I like to match the flavor to the fruit I’m using)
2 cups boiling water
About 1 1/2 cups fruit of your choosing

9″ pie dish version:
1 cup crushed pretzels
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1  stick) regular salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (8 oz)  packages cream cheese
2/3 of an 8 oz container whipped topping, thawed
1/2 of a 6 oz package flavored Jell-O (I just make a full package and just pour the leftovers into another bowl and eat it later)
1 cup boiling water
About 1 cup fruit of your choosing

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a good handful of pretzels into a ziplock baggy.

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2. Crush ’em. Crush ’em good.

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3. Now, take the pretzels you’ve so painstakingly crushed and throw ’em in a bowl.

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4. To the crushed pretzely goodness, add in your sugar and stir around to incorporate evenly. This is going to help caramelize the outsides of the pretzels and get that wonderfully toasty taste.

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5. To your wonderful pretzel-sugar combo, add in your melted butter. Yes, all of it. Don’t be shy. You need every drop! Stir to coat all the pretzels evenly.

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6. Now, dump the whole thing out into your dish. This time, I’m using my trusty 9″x13″. Who knows what I’ll do next time. I live on the edge like that.

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7. Now, using your fingers or the bottom of a cup, press down the pretzel mixture firmly to form an even crust. This will ensure that your crust will be more crust-y and won’t fall apart as easily when you cut into it later.

Also, lose a diamond off your ring and have to send it in for repairs so that, for a month, you get to feel awesome in just your wedding band. Go ahead, all the cool kids are doing it.

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8. ta-da! Your crust should be nice and smooth. Place that sucker into the oven for 10-15 minutes. I like to leave it in for 15 to get a nice toasty taste, but 10 minutes will do the trick in not having it fall apart.

Once you remove it from the oven, let it cool COMPLETELY. I stick it in the freezer because I’m impatient as I assemble the rest.

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9.  Take out your two softened packages of cream cheese and place them in a bowl.

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10. To that, add in your sugar. I promise you, despite what you may be thinking,  this dessert isn’t that sweet. I’ve used full fat cream cheese as well as the low fat stuff. It doesn’t make a difference in the end.

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11. Mix those two until smooth.

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12. To the cream cheese mixture, add in your whipped cream. I’ve used homemade whipped cream and regular whipped topping from a container and I can honestly say that  the difference was negligible. Do what feels right.

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13. Spread the cream cheese mixture over your totally cooled crust. Then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set.

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14. Prepare your Jell-O according to the package instructions. I know I wrote 2 cups of boiling water, but I always use 1/2 cup boiling and 1 1/2 cups cold water to make mine since the Jell-O sets a whole lot quicker that way. Place in the freezer to quicken the solidifying while you chop up your fruit.

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15. Today, I am using strawberries to place on top of my pretzel salad. You could just as easily use any other fruit. Just cut them up to your desired thickness.

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16. Take your Jell-O out of the freezer and drop in your fruit. You may need to set it back into the freezer to let it set a bit more. Just don’t let it set all the way. You want it cool but still runny for easy spreading.

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17. Spread the Jell-O right over the cream cheese mixture and try to get them as evenly dispersed as possible. Put it in the fridge and let the gelatin set all the way and the instant that happens, remove and enjoy!

Happy eating!

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Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I always thought biscotti was a super hard treat to make. It comes in those fancy schmancy packages at the store afterall. But when it was explained to me that it’s simply a twice baked cookie, the doors were opened for me to BiscottiLand.

It doesn’t get any easier than that now does it?

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Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Hershey’s)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts
milk, dark, or white chocolate for drizzling. Or some combination of all of them.

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1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with the sugar.

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2. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.

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3. Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add it to the wet ingredients.

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4. Drop in all the walnuts and stir to combine.

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The dough will be tough and sticky. And look something like this.

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5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or this handy dandy silicon thing I have. Divide the dough into two batches and set them out on the baking sheet in log form. They don’t have to be perfect.

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6. Set in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, and let them cool for about 15 minutes.

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7. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on a diagonal.

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8. Set the slices side-by-side back on the baking sheet and set in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Remove, flip them over and bake another 8-9 minutes.

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9. Let the biscotti cool completely and then drizzle with some chocolate.

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and because I couldn’t just leave it alone after one drizzle, I also drizzled them with white chocolate. That part is entirely up to you!

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Oatmeal Day!

I’ve added a whole bunch of food holidays I’d like to celebrate to my iCal and I must say, I like having organized “national holidays” to celebrate!

Today, however, I had way too much to do, and on top of that, I just picked up The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook since I missed its delivery and I got not one but two coats I’d ordered last week. If that wasn’t enough, the coats fit wonderfully (it’s very limiting to be junior-sized but want to order womens coats) and the cookbook is awesome.

So since today is so fabulous and because I do not have enough daylight (or enough oatmeal) to make a full batch of these crispy cookies, I’ll merely leave you the recipe, courtesy of the new cookbook I have today!

And yes, I used the other half of the egg from yesterday. Thank you for asking.

Oatmeal cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening (it’s ok to indulge every once in a while. Remember, you’re worth it
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup regular granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening with the sugars. This is pretty much the first step to most cookie recipes so get used to it.

2. Beat eggs and add the vanilla. Pour the whole thing into the sugar mixture and stir until combined.

3. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda together and pour into the sugar mixture and mix until well integrated. Then, roll in the oats and beat those in too.

4. Last but not least, add in your pecans and mix mix mix until everything is evenly dispersed. Chill for 30 minutes or so. (Or put it in the freezer like me)

5. The recipe calls to roll the dough into a log and then slice it thin. I have no patience for that so here’s what I did.  Spoon out a tablespoon of the dough and then flatten it to about a 1/2″ thickness.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let ’em cool and enjoy!

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