Category: Baked Goods / Desserts

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon adds great dimension to baked goods: acidity, tartness, and aroma. Bake these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for breakfast, have with your morning coffee break, or serve with afternoon tea. They freeze well, too!

I frequently substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose white flour. Compared to regular whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour is milder tasting and less dense. To maximize the nutritional value of the flour, King Arthur recommends using 1/3 of the amount called for in the recipe, but I’ve substituted 100% white whole wheat for all-purpose with great success.

Make up an extra batch of muffins and freeze for up to 3 months after cooling thoroughly. I like to have two or three different muffins varieties in the freezer; they thaw quickly on the counter or in the microwave using the defrost setting. These delicious chocolate muffins come in handy for a snack, unexpected company, or packed into a lunch box.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon adds great dimension to baked goods; acidity, tartness, and aroma that appeals to all our senses. Bake these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for breakfast, your morning coffee break, or afternoon tea. They freeze well, too!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen regular muffins or 24 mini muffins 1x
  • Category: Baked Goods
Scale

Ingredients

2 cups all-purppose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Setup
Preheat oven to 375º F
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin* pan or line with paper liners.

Method
Combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Beat milk and eggs in a small mixing bowl; stir in melted butter, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until well combined. Don’t over mix or the batter is a little tough.

Fill each muffin cup by 2/3 with muffin batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until cake tester comes clean.

Remove to cooling rack. Store in airtight container.

Notes

*Makes 24 mini muffins.

 

 

Raspberry Clafoutis (gluten-free version, too!)

raspberry clafoutis with whipped cream

Raspberry Clafoutis may be the simplest, most fool-proof dessert ever. Simply macerate the fruit in a little sugar, and perhaps a complementary liqueur, blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender, pour the batter over fruit and bake! That’s all there is to it, I promise!

We had a dinner party in February and I needed a gluten-free dessert. This raspberry clafoutis filled the bill perfectly. Basically it’s a custard-based dessert with a little flour mixed in. The party was a large group (12) so I made two, one gluten-free and one regular. The gluten-free version is a little more translucent due to the lack of wheat starch, otherwise it’s the same in every respect and those who had it couldn’t tell the difference!

Raspberry Clafoutis sliced

Another nice thing about this dessert is it can be made a day in advance. Be sure to take it out about an hour before serving to warm up a little for better flavor and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Setup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter.

Method

Place the raspberries, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let macerate for at least 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times.

Raspberry Clafoutis - macerating berries

Place the remaining sugar, half and half, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest in the base of a blender and blend until frothy.

Add the flour (wheat or gluten free) and blend until completely incorporated

GF NOTE: This is the only modification for a gluten-free version, use all-purpose gluten-free flour, no gums necessary

Spread the raspberries (juices too!) in one layer in the bottom of the pie dish. Pour the batter over the berries and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

raspberry clafoutis batter

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Raspberry Clafoutis baked

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Raspberry Clafoutis (gluten-free version too)

Raspberry Clafoutis is a quick and easy fruit-based custard dessert sure to please everyone. Gluten-free version included!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Baked Goods
Scale

Ingredients

3 half pints fresh raspberries OR 3 cups frozen raspberries (thaw before macerating)
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 large eggs
½ cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of one lemon
1/3 cup all-purpose wheat flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour*

Instructions

Setup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter.

Method

Place the raspberries, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let macerate for at least 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times.

Place the remaining sugar, half and half, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest in the base of a blender and blend until frothy.

Add the flour and blend until completely incorporated.

Spread the raspberries (juices too!) in one layer in the bottom of the pie dish. Pour the batter over the berries and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

*no gums necessary

Keywords: custard, dessert, gluten-free dessert, gluten-free, raspberry liqueur, Chambord, #spring #spring recipes, Easter, Easter recipe

 

Double Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins in a basket

I love muffins and tea and not just for breakfast. Muffins make a delicious afternoon snack and these Double Chocolate Muffins are a lovely treat with the deep cocoa flavor and chocolate chunks!

I use a standard muffin pan as I’m not a fan of huge muffins. I particularly like mini muffins, especially when there are a variety to choose from. A little of one and a little of another is always an excellent choice!

These chocolate muffins come together quickly and freeze well. When it comes to cocoa powder, I prefer to use a Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which has been treated with an alkalizing agent. This neutralizes the natural acidity in the cocoa, smoothes the chocolaty flavor, and deepens the color to a rich dark brown. Use a good quality chocolate chip or a favorite chocolate bar, about 8 ounces, cut into small chunks.

Double Chocolate Muffins in a basket

I frequently substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose white flour. Compared to regular whole flour, white whole wheat flour is a milder tasting and much less dense flour. To maximize the nutritional value of the flour, King Arthur recommends using 1/3 of the amount called for in the recipe. I frequently swap out 100% of the all-purpose flour for the white whole wheat with excellent results.

Make up an extra batch and freeze for up to 3 months after cooling thoroughly. I like to have two or three different muffins varieties in the freezer; they thaw quickly on the counter or in the microwave using the defrost setting. These delicious chocolate muffins come in handy for a snack, unexpected company, or packed into a lunch box.

SETUP FOR DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 12-cup or muffin pan or 24-cup mini muffin pan or use with paper liners.

Double Chocolate Muffins greased pan

METHOD FOR MAKING DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Double Chocolate Muffins dry ingredients

Beat the milk and eggs in a small mixing bowl; stir in melted butter and vanilla extract.

Double Chocolate Muffins wet ingredients

Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until well combined. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough. Stir in chips.

Fill each muffin cup to the rim.

Double Chocolate Muffins in muffin tins

These mini muffin tins are a little smaller and made more than 24, but didn’t completely fill the third pan. I filled the empty cups halfway with cold water to balance out the heat.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, regular-size muffins, 18 minutes for mini muffins, or until cake tester comes clean.

Let the muffins settle in the pan for 5 minutes and them remove each muffin to a cooling rack.

Store in airtight container or freeze.

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Double Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins in a basket

Double Chocolate Muffins made with Dutch-processed cocoa and good quality chocolate chips are great for breakfast, afternoon snack or packed in a lunch box!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen muffins, 2 dozen mini muffins 1x
  • Category: Baked Goods
Scale

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purppose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 12-cup or muffin pan or 24-cup mini muffin pan or use with paper liners.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until well combined. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough. Stir in chips.

Fill each muffin cup to the rim.

Beat the milk and eggs in a small mixing bowl; stir in melted butter and vanilla extract.

These mini muffin tins are a little smaller and made more than 24, but didn’t completely fill the third pan. I filled the empty cups halfway with cold water to balance out the heat.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, regular-size muffins, 18 minutes for mini muffins, or until cake tester comes clean.

Let the muffins settle in the pan for 5 minutes and them remove each muffin to a cooling rack.

Store in airtight container or freeze.

1 3/4 cups all-purppose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I have a few friends who either suffer from celiac disease or have a low tolerance for gluten, which led me to experiment with gluten-free flour. It was a challenge at first to learn the ins and outs of working without gluten, but I persevered. Here’s one of my recent “success stories,” Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies.

I made these especially for my friend Dennis, who is constantly commenting on the inferior quality and high cost of commercially made GF snacks. This is one of his favorite cookies and he requested cashews in lieu of the typical walnuts. These cookies are light, with a buttery, not too sweet flavor, and a hint of cinnamon. He stopped by on Saturday to pick them up and was delighted with the results and his goodie bag to go!

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Gluten-Free Flour

There are a wide variety of flours to choose from and most local grocery stores carry one or two brands, usually King Arthur Flour or Bob’s Red Mill. Both have blends that you can substitute all-purpose flour cup for cup for the gluten-free flour. I used King Arthur Flour’s Measure for Measure, which doesn’t require the addition of gums. Read the ingredient label to check if either guar gum and/or zanthan gum are included. My research shows that using half guar gum and half xanthan gum provides the best results. A 1/4 teaspoon each per cup of flour is sufficient. These are readily available from vendors such as Bob’s Red Mill and amazon.com and other vendors.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The cookies whip up exactly like any other drop cookie. Beat the butter until fluffy in a stand mixer or with a hand beater; scrape the sides and beater. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated; scrape the sides and beater. Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides and beater as needed until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract, raisins, and nuts. Add the flours, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, and xanthan gum,* and beat on low, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape the sides and beater again and mix on medium-high until the dough is smooth, about 10 seconds.

*Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful onto the lined cookie sheet, or use a cookie scoop, which makes about a 2-inch cookie, not too big and not too small. I like to use the scoop for the uniformity in size and even cooking.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookie is golden brown.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

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Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
Scale

Ingredients

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional, such as walnuts, pecans, or cashews
1 cup gluten-free flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, such Quaker Oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon guar gum*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum*

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter until fluffy in a stand mixer or with a hand beater; scrape the sides and beater.

Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated; scrape the sides and beater.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides and beater as needed until incorporated.

Mix in the vanilla extract, raisins, and nuts.

Add the flours, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, and xanthan gum,* and beat on low, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beater as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape the sides and beater again and mix on medium-high until the dough is smooth, about 10 seconds.

*Note: Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful onto the lined cookie sheet, or use a cookie scoop, which makes about a 2-inch cookie, not too big and not too small. I like to use the scoop for the uniformity in size and even cooking.

Pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. The bottom of the cookie should be golden brown. The tops a darker beige.

Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Notes

*Note: Omit if using a gluten-free flour that includes these gums.

Keywords: cookies, gluten-free, baked goods, dessert, snack

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

I like to tweak recipes. Sometimes it’s not a very noticeable change and other times I create a new version of something I’ve done in the past. This Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake is a remake of a traditional Italian Ricotta Cheese that I did a couple of years ago. I thought a pumpkin version for Thanksgiving was just what we needed this year!

This dessert whips up in a matter of minutes. Make it the day before and let it sit, refrigerated of course, which allows the flavors to meld. It also takes the pressure off on Thanksgiving day to have the dessert already done. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before serving to warm up, and add a dollop of whipped cream for a delicious garnish.

Making the Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little unsalted butter. I use a small piece of wax paper and a dab of butter, about 1 teaspoon, and smear it over the bottom and sides of the pan.

greasing the pan for pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides too.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Sometimes a springform pan leaks and this keeps the bottom of your oven clean.

Place the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves in a mixing bowl.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Beat with a whisk attachment until combined, or in a bowl with a hand whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.

If you are mixing by hand, the eggs are best beaten first and then added to the batter. I use the empty ricotta cheese container to avoid using another bowl. Simply crack the eggs into the container, cover, and shake to scramble.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

Add the eggs and vanilla to the batter and whisk until smooth.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Take a sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the pan to make sure the cake isn’t sticking; then release the side panel. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate.

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

 

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Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

pumpkin ricotta cheesecake

A quick and easy dessert that can be made a day in advance. Take the cake out of the refrigerator an hour before serving to warm up. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon more for the pan
1/2 cup pumpkin powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Garnish
whipped cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little unsalted butter. I use a small piece of wax paper and a dab of butter, about 1 teaspoon, and smear it over the bottom and sides of the pan. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides too.

Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Sometimes a springform pan leaks and this keeps the bottom of your oven clean.

Place the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined, or in a bowl with a hand whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.

If you are mixing by hand, the eggs are best beaten first and then added to the batter. I use the empty ricotta cheese container to avoid using another bowl. Simply crack the eggs into the container, cover, and shake to scramble.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the batter and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Take a sharp knife and run the blade around the side of the pan; then release the side panel. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate.

Keywords: Ricotta cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, cheesecake, Italian cheesecake, pumpkin,

Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

I like to use natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy. It doesn’t have the added sugar and oil, retaining more of its natural flavor. Natural peanut butter comes separated, the oil on top and the solids on the bottom. It’s not an easy task to mix it together in the jar, so I scrape it into a food processor and in seconds, it’s completely blended.

This peanut butter cookie recipe is quick and easy to make. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 two-inch cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup salted natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper. Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

 

 

 

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

I don’t know the origin of this recipe and I’ve tweaked it a little over the years.  The original was a plain brownie, no chips or nuts. It’s one of those handed down by Grandma Mary to Mom to me. It’s probably another recipe that got clipped from a weekly newspaper’s food column or was found in a women’s magazine.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

The brownies are moist and even better if made a day in advance. Don’t cut them into squares until they are completely cool (I mean cold) or they crumble.

Use an 8” x 8” x 2” square pan, lightly greased and you’ll end up with 16 brownies.

The nuts are optional and if you have a group that is divided over nuts, sprinkle some on half the top and all will be happy.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

These triple-chocolate brownies are quick and easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Don’t hesitate to serve with a scoop of ice cream on the side!

Watch the Triple-Chocolate Brownies Video here.
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Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are an all-time favorite and these triple- chocolate brownies bring three times the flavor! Quick and easy to prepare.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 16 two-inch brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert/Bars
  • Method: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch by 8-inch by 2-inch baking pan.
  3. Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the butter is melted, take off heat to stir the chocolate to help it melt. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the chocolate will seize.
  4. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract, which helps cool the chocolate.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and beat lightly. Beating too hard will incorporate air and create a less dense brownie.
  6. Stir in the flour mixing until all the flour has been incorporated.
  7. Stir in the chips and nuts, if using, until thoroughly blended.
  8. Spread mixture into the greased baking pan.
  9. Top the brownie batter with the walnuts, if desired.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes; the brownies are done when top looks cracked and the sides have pulled away slightly. A toothpick inserted in the middle should show a moist crumb.
  11. Cool and cut into squares.

 

How To Blind Bake a Pie Crust

Blind baking

Not all pie fillings require baking, but the pie crust certainly does. Use this simple technique to blind bake a pie crust before adding the filling.

To blind bake a pie crust, place the dough in a pie dish, crimp and then use a fork to gently poke holes around the sides and bottom of the dough. This allows steam to escape and prevents the bottom of the pie dough rising into a small hill.

Blind bakingPlace a piece of plastic wrap, no worries, it doesn’t melt, parchment paper or foil in the bottom of the unbaked shell and fill with pie weights. Pie weights are sold in stores in small quantities and tend to be expensive. An excellent and inexpensive alternative is a one-pound package of dried beans. Cool the beans after removing and store in a covered container for reuse.
The cooking takes place in two stages:

  1. Baking with the beans in the shell and removing about 20 minutes in.
  2. Return the pie shell, without the beans or liner, and continue baking until golden brown.

Cool the shell before adding filling.

On occasion, it pays to blind bake a pie crust with a filling that needs to be cooked, such as quiche, which makes the bottom crust soggy. See our recipe for Bacon Spinach Quiche.

Blind baking

See the How To Blind Bake a Pastry Crust Here.

How to Freeze Pie Crust

Can I freeze pastry dough

How to freeze pie crust is a simple task. Making the pie crust from scratch is a little time consuming, there is a waiting period for the dough to hydrate. I make several batches at one time and freeze as individual pie crusts, which freeze well and defrost quickly.

The benefit of making pie crusts in advance is having it on hand to make any kind of pie quickly. Don’t forget that pie crusts are for both sweet and savory preparations.

See our post on basic pie crust.

Can I freeze pastry dough

There are two methods I use to freeze a pie crust. Wrap the unrolled pie disc wrapped in plastic tightly with foil and freeze.

Can I freeze pastry dough

The second method is to roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle, place this on wax-paper lined heavy-duty aluminum foil, cover with another piece of wax paper and roll. Seal tightly and freeze.

Can I freeze pastry dough

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Thawing on the kitchen counter is risky – the dough gets very soft and is difficult to roll out and handle. It can stay in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for several days.

You can also pre-bake a crust and freeze it, but it takes up more room in the freezer and it’s awkward to wrap.

Be sure to stock up and enjoy the luxury of having pie more often!

Watch the How To Freeze Pastry Dough Video Here.

Cranberry-Orange Scones

Scones

I have a couple of blood oranges on hand and always have dried cranberries in the pantry. Cranberry-Orange Scones coming up!

Scones

We’re in the midst of our first big snow storm for 2017, expecting somewhere between 6- to 12-inches. The plow guys are here now for the first plowing and it looks like we’ve easily hit the 6-inch mark. They’ll be back later in the day, after the snow ends to clean up the rest of the downfall. It’s windy, that howling wind that tells you it’s bitter cold outside – BRRRR. My weather app says the temp is 26, but “real feel” is 4 degrees. Glad I’m inside.

Once these delicious scones come out of the oven, I’ll be sitting by the fireplace with a cup of tea and a warm, aromatic, delicious cranberry-orange scone.

Scones

Stay warm and cozy friends!

Watch the Cranberry-Orange Scone Video Here

 

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Cranberry-Orange Scones

Scones

A delicious start to any morning or with a spot of tea in the afternoon, Cranberry-Orange Scones are always a welcome treat!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 8 scones 1x
  • Category: Baked Good
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450º F (232º C).
  2. Mix flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Slice in butter into 12 pieces and cut into flour until butter is size of peas.
  4. Mix in dried cranberries and orange zest.
  5. Push flour mixture to sides of bowl, making a well in center of bowl. Pour cream into well, and cover with flour mixture. Mix gently, a minimal amount of mixing and kneading produces a light, delicate scone, until all ingredients are wet.
  6. Lightly dust work surface with flour and gently knead dough 10 times. Form dough into a round.
  7. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness and slice into 8 wedges.
  8. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Remove to a cooling rack.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 scone

Deep Dish Apple Pie

Apple Pie

 

Apple pie is a family favorite. Apple orchards are plentiful in Rochester, NY, my hometown and we always have a nice assortment of varieties on hand and drink lots of fresh-pressed apple cider. Deep Dish Apple Pie is just an excuse to use more apples!

I think most people are familiar with apple pie ala mode, but in our family, the pie was always served with sliced extra-sharp Cheddar cheese on the side. The cider mills we bought our apples and cider at also sold cheese. After all, cheese and apples are a natural pairing!

Apple Pie

For a more interesting and complex pie, use at least three types of apples, such as Granny Smith, McIntosh and Rome. The sweet, tart and soft, firm textures blend nicely. Nuts, raisins and/or dried cranberries are a nice way to mix it up a little, the nuts provide texture and the dried fruit soaks up the apple juices.

Don’t forget to pierce the top of the pie dough several times. This allows the steam to escape and keeps your crust intact. The egg wash creates a shiny, golden brown crust – don’t skip it.

Apple Pie

I’ve never seen a pie recipe butters the pie pan. I think the high fat content of the pie dough makes everyone think it won’t stick, but it does, and the bottom crust doesn’t easily release. So save those butter wrappers from the pastry dough and use them to butter the pie pan. You can thank me later!

Apple Pie

This recipe calls for a double crust, add 2 tablespoons sugar to the recipe for a sweet crust.

The pie can be frozen uncooked and baked from the frozen state. Wrap tightly and store for only a month. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake another hour or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife.

Apple Pie

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Deep Dish Apple Pie

Apple Pie

For a more interesting and complex pie, use at least three types of apples, such as Granny Smith, McIntosh and Rome. The sweet, tart and soft, firm textures blend nicely. Nuts, raisins and/or dried cranberries are a nice way to mix it up a little, the nuts provide texture and the dried fruit soaks up the apple juices. Serve with extra-sharp Cheddar cheese on the side.

Scale

Ingredients

  • One double-crust pie recipe with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar added
  • 9 apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths (~ 2.5 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Roll out the two pie crusts and line the bottom of a dish dish pie dish with one. See post on how to roll out a pie crust.
  2. Combine the apple slices, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped walnuts, raisins, sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour mixture into a prepared bottom crust in a 10-inch deep dish pie pan and tuck in the fruit to fit tightly.
  4. Cover with the top crust, crimp, and cut steam wholes.
  5. Brush crust with the egg wash.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for one hour, or until apples are soft when pierced with a knife.
  7. Remove to a baker’s rack and cool.

Notes

The pie can be frozen uncooked and baked from the frozen state. Wrap tightly and store for only a month. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake another hour or until the apples tender when pierced with a knife.

How to Roll Out a Pie Crust

pastry dough/pie crust

The technique to roll out a pie crust is relatively simple. Follow these simple rules and the pie crust is tender and flaky.

Here’s our post on basic pie crust. Here you are instructed to gently handle the dough. The more moisture and agitation (mixing and kneading), the more the gluten develops. This makes the pie crust difficult to roll out, it stretches out and shrinks back. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before rolling out to allow the starch to properly hydrate.

Also see our post on how to freeze a pie crust.

How to Roll Out a Pie Crust

Lightly flour a flat surface to prevent sticking, place the dough in middle and lightly flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin.

The dough is cold and stiff, so start by tapping on the dough with the rolling pin in different directions, flip, flour and tap again.

pastry dough/pie crust

The dough has flattened a bit and warmed up, now place the rolling pin in the center of the dough and push out away from you. Place the dough in the center and pull towards you. Turn the dough, add a sprinkle of flour, and turn the 90 degrees and repeat. Keep rolling and turning until the dough is a 14-inch round and about ¼-inch thick.

pastry dough/pie crust

Fold the dough in half and in half again. Place the center point in the middle of the pan and reopen. Tuck the pie dough into the pan making sure to leave no gaps at the edges. Trim to 1-inch from the rim of the pan.

pastry dough/pie crust

Don’t discard those scraps – make these delicious pastry treats.

For a single pie crust, tuck edges of the dough under and then crimp with your fingers or with a fork to make a decorative edge.

For a double pie crust, add filling, trim dough and tuck both top and bottom crusts under and crimp.