Plum Upside Down Cake

This cake is incredibly easy.  The hardest part is deciding how to layer the plum slices.   I whipped this up in between an afternoon at the beach and a backyard dinner.  (A quick one!)  It's really the perfect balance of fresh summer fruit and sweet cake.  Feel free to substitute peaches or nectarines for the plums. 

Makes 1 cake. 

Plum Upside Down Cake

2 tablespoons butter, room temp

about 1/3 cup light brown sugar

2-3 ripe plums,pitted, thinly sliced

1 2/3 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup butter, room temp

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the inside of a 9 inch cake pan with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Make sure to get the sides and corners.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Be very liberal with the butter and sugar.  Arrange fruit slices on along base of pan, extend to sides if you like. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking powder together.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients in two or three batches, alternating with the milk, until batter is smooth but not over mixed.  

Pour into prepared cake pan, over fruit.  Gently smooth top if needed. Bake 40-45 minutes or until fully baked.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes.  Run knife along edges to loosen.  Invert cake onto plate and serve.  

Thai Tea Ice Cream

It's finally hot out.  Cool down with this ice cream - infused with the Thai iced tea flavors of anise and cardamom.  

Thai tea leaves can be found on amazon (what can't be?) or at well stocked grocery stores.  I like the one by Panthai.  

Makes about 1 quart.

Thai Tea Ice Cream

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

2.5 oz thai tea leaves

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

pinch salt

Combine milk, cream and tea leaves in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let steep 10 minutes.  Strain and discard tea leaves.  Stir in sugar.  Return to boil.

Beat egg yolks in a bowl. Whisk in 1/3 boiling liquid to temper the eggs.  Add tempered eggs to the boiling liquid.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  

Strain into a bowl set over an ice bath to cool right away.  Place in fridge.  Let cool completely.  

Process in ice cream maker until smooth and frozen.     

 

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are classic, no frills chocolate chip cookies.  A dessert staple -these were made by all my relatives growing up and it's my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  

Makes 30 cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperate

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour

1 package semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheets with liners or grease.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars.  Stir in eggs and vanilla.  

In another bowl, whisk salt, baking soda and flour together.  Combine with wet ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Use a tablespoon to portion out cookies, form them into spheres and arrange on baking sheets.  (They will spread during baking, I fit 12 on a half a sheet tray.) 

Bake 10 minutes.  Let cool. 

Cinnamon Rolls + Blood Orange Glaze

Buns!  I never make these because I will eat about six the first day.  My willpower stands no chance around cinnamon buns.  None at all.  Luckily, I had a work meeting I knew these would be perfect for.   

The blood orange juice makes the prettiest pink glaze.  I love the color, so cheery and fun. 

Makes 16.

Cinnamon Rolls + Blood Orange Glaze

for the rolls

1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1 egg

pinch salt

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

for the filling

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

for the blood orange glaze

2 cup powdered sugar 

2 tablespoon melted butter

pinch salt

splash vanilla extract

about 1/3 cup blood orange juice

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk yeast, warm water and sugar.  Let sit.  

In a small pot, melt butter.  Add milk.  When steaming hot, remove from heat.  When warm, whisk into yeast mixture.  Add egg, salt and flour.   Knead with dough hook attachment for a few minutes until dough is a smooth ball.  (More flour maybe added during kneading if dough seems too sticky.)   Place dough ball in an oiled bowl, turning to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. 

While dough is rising, whisk together melted butter, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon.   

Punch dough down to deflate.  Roll out into a large rectangle, roughly 9" x 24".  

Spread filling evenly over rectangle.  Roll up dough, beginning with the long side.  Seal ends. Slice into 16 slices.  Arrange in 9"x 13" baking pan, leaving space between each roll.  Let rise about 40 minutes.  

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

While cinnamon rolls are baking, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, pinch salt, vanilla and blood orange juice until smooth.   

Glaze rolls and serve warm.  

Gluten Free Almond + Chocolate Chip Cookies

So long gluten!  We don't need you for our cookie making.  Gluten free or not, these are tasty cookies, soft and cakey with nice texture from the almond flour.  

I'm planning on working on more GF and possibly vegan cookie recipes.  Looking forward to sharing (and eating) the results!

About 12 cookies.

Gluten Free Almond + chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup almond flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch nutmeg

 pinch salt

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (your choice, I used grape seed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Add egg, oil and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined.  Mix in chocolate chips/nibs.  Chill dough 10 minutes to firm it up. (You can skip this but you're cookies will spread a bit more.)  

Use a tablespoon to portion dough onto a silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan, 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from silpat by sweeping an off set spatula underneath each cookie.  

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

If you've been following Meats + Sweets you've probably noticed I like my fruit leathers.  I've always had a sweet tooth and fruit roll ups, fruit leather, gummies and fruit by the foot are all favorites I still crave.  I like making them at home as it allows me to adjust the amount of added sugar, which in most cases, is zero.  I find that if ripe fruit is used then no extra sweetener is needed.  

I haven't tried it but I think green grapes would be a tasty substitute.  

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

20 oz organic seedless red grapes, stems discarded

Heat oven to 170 degrees.  Wash and dry grapes.  Blend until a smooth puree has formed.  Spread evenly over a silpat or parchment paper lined half sheet tray.  I like to use a large offset spatula, making sure the center is not thicker than the edges.  Place in oven and bake until surface is no longer sticky but fruit leather hasn't become brittle.  This will take about 4 hours.  

Remove from oven and cool.  Peel away from liner and cut into strips.  Store in an airtight container.  

 

 

Chai Apple Cake + Lemon Ginger Frosting

cacake07.jpg

 If you are needing a little indulgence, this cake will do the trick.  Originally, I wanted this cake to be a bread but after making 3 different test breads (because each wasn't just right) it seemed like the bread was telling me it wanted to be cake.  It would also be good as cupcakes.  I like cupcakes.  

Chai Apple Cake

1 cup milk

2 chai tea bags

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons cardamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 stick butter. softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons white vinegar, separated

2 apples, peeled, cored, diced

Lemon Ginger Frosting

1 stick butter, softened

grated zest of one lemon

grated fresh ginger of about 1 inch root

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two cake pans, 8 or 9 inch rounds and set aside.

For cake, Heat milk until hot but not boiling and brew a strong tea using both chai tea bags, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let stand 5 minutes.  It is now chai flavored buttermilk.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.   Set aside.  In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs 1 teaspoon vinegar and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and chai butter milk.  Lastly add apples.  Pour evenly into prepared baking rounds.  Bake about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes in pans and then turn out to cool completely.

In the mean time, make the Frosting.

For Frosting, with an electric hand or stand mixer, combine all ingredients.

Frost the cake.

Baked Apples / Ginger Whipped Cream

Went apple picking at Apple Ridge Orchards in New Hampton, NY so watch out for more apple recipes than you probably want.

This is a healthy dessert if you go without the whipped cream (but why would you want to do that?)  I think these could also be suitable for breakfast with yogurt and granola.  I prefer whipped cream not to be sweet but feel free to add more to your liking.  Along with the whipped cream, I served these with red zinger maple syrup.

Baked Apples

4 apples, washed and dried

cinnamon

nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove stem and core apples.  Peel apples so they look like they are wearing vertical peel stripes.  Dust will cinnamon and nutmeg.  Place right side up on baking dish.  Add about 1/4 inch of water.  Bake uncovered about 40 minutes.  (I like to flip mine half way through and add a pinch of water if all of it has evaporated at this point for more even baking.) Remove from oven and serve warm.

Ginger Whipped Cream

8oz heavy (whipping) cream

2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (i love a good micro plane)

In a bowl, whisk cream until it almost begins to stiffen, about 5 minutes.  Add sugar and ginger.  Whisk until cream forms little peaks.

Fire Cookies

I put hot sauce on just about everything so it was only a matter of time before I started craving my desserts with a little kick.  Serve these delightful little ones with milk.

Chocolate Cayenne Cookies

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch more for sprinkling

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla.  Stir until evenly mixed.  Chill dough for 2 hours.  Scoop into spheres of a size of your choice.  (I aimed for a generous tablespoon.)  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Arrange on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes.

 

Spiced Peach Muffins

The peaches are the best part of these muffins with the baking spices bringing out their natural sweetness.

Spiced Peach Muffins

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup oat bran

1 1/2 cup flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cardamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1 cup milk

2 peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix butter, egg, sugars, lemon zest and vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and milk.  Stir in peaches. Spoon into papered or greased muffin pans about 2/3 full.  Bake about 18 minutes or until cake tester tests clean.  Remove from tins and cool.

Mixed Berry Crisp

I'm used to apple crisps like the favorite one my mom made when I was small.  It's very simple and sweet (but not too sweet.)  We're not quite at apple season so berries it is.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for dessert or on its own for breakfast.

Mixed Berry Crisp

1 package raspberries

1 package blackberries

1 package blueberries

1/2 stick butter, cut in pieces

3/4 cup oats

1/2 cup all purpose flour  (or whole wheat)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

pinch salt

dash cinnamon

zest of one lemon

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and dry berries.  Place berries in baking dish (8x8" square, pie or small single serving dishes ) and set aside.

In a bowl mix butter, oats, flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest until it comes together.  It works best to mix by hand.

Cover berries with oat mixture and bake 30 minutes.

 

cherry peach galette

Yay for stone fruit!  You can use this pie crust or the one provided which is not sweet and very buttery.  A galette is a free form pie.

Buttery Pie Crust

3 cups flour

2 very cold sticks butter, cut in pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water, or so

egg yolk and milk for wash

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Combine pieces of butter with fingers until it resembles a coarse crumb.  Slowly add water and form into a flat rectangle.  Chill for 2 hours.

Stone Fruit Filling

4 peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped

2 cups cherries, pitted and cut in half

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 tablespoon sugar

Toss peaches and cherries with sugar, zest of 1 lemon and a light squeeze of its juice.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roll out dough onto a large rectangle and place on baking sheet.   Pile fruit in center leaving a border.  Fold dough border over to create galette.   For the wash, whisk egg yolk and a splash of milk together in small dish and brush over crust.  Bake about 25 minutes.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

National Piña Colada day was a couple days ago so I'm a little late.  The cupcake is pineapple and the frosting is coconut.  Makes 30 cup cakes.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

1 stick butter

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 cup buttermilk

1 tin pineapple rings with 1/2 the juice, blended in a blender

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 cups cake flour

 

Coconut Frosting

1 stick butter, very soft

4 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons coconut extract

1/4 cup lite coconut milk

For cupcakes:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars. (I like to use a handheld mixer.)   Add egg.  Add remaining wet ingredients.  Then continue with dry.  Prepare cupcake pan with paper cups and fill half way.  Bake about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

For Frosting:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well incorporated and smooth.

Ice cupcakes.

Nutella Banana Tart

i'll never say no to nutella. Nutella Banana Tart

1 crust recipe

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup nutella hazelnut chocolate spread

2 banana, peeled and sliced slightly on the bias

Roll out crust for 9 inch pan and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool.

Place chocolate chips and nutella in a bowl and set aside. In a small sauce pan, heat heavy cream just until it begins to boil or simmer.  Immediately pour over chocolate chips and nutella.  Whisk, whisk, whisk until combined, about 5 minutes.  Let mixture cool a bit and pour into crust.  Chill until set and top with banana slices just before serving.

Peachy Hand Pies

A hand pie is an individually portioned pie requiring no utensils, only a hand to eat.   It's pie for one and in the case of this recipe it's pie for one for seven.

Peach Hand Pies

1 prepared crust recipe, plus flour for rolling

4oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or bourbon

2 peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough out on floured surface and cut into 5 inch circles.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla or bourbon.  Smear 1 tablespoon or so of this cream cheese mixture onto one side of each dough circle.  Top with 1 tablespoon of diced peaches.  Fold circle in half and gently press edges to seal.  Cut vents in top.  If you like brush with egg wash (2 tablespoons milk + egg yolk) for crispy golden brownness or milk wash (milk only, which is what I did) to keep them light and moist. Bake 25-30 minutes (until edges are golden).

Pie Crust

Summer time, like any time, is great for pie.   The farmer's market is full of pie worthy fruit.  This pie crust takes no time to make but will lend itself to many applications for tasty summery desserts.

I'm pretty flexible when it comes to making pie crust.  I usually start with a heaping cup of flour and a stick of butter, going from there with sugar, milk or any other appropriate add ins.  This dough is easily altered.   Dough should be pliable and smooth, not sticky.  I recommend doubling the recipe and having a portion to keep in the freezer should you have a pie emergency or if needing a top layer for your pie.   Look forward to Peachy Handpies and Nutella Banana Tart posts coming up.

Crust

1 heaping cup of flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick of cold butter cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon milk

In a bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Using your fingers or a pastry blender combine butter and dry ingredients. (You might as well skip the pastry blender and just use your hands, it's much easier.)  Add milk to help dough come together.  Shape into disc and wrap with plastic wrap.  Chill for 2 hours. Dough will then be ready to be rolled out and become crust.

Sea Salt Caramels

This recipe leaves you with sixty something pieces of caramel.  Plan accordingly.  I can't be trusted around that much candy so mine went to work with me. Sea Salt Caramels

2 1/2 cups cane syrup (corn syrup is ok too)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons butter, softened

sea salt (think large coarse crystals like the maldon type)

Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper and grease.  Paper should hang over the sides of the pan.  Add all ingredients excluding sea salt into a large pot.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Cook until candy thermometer reads 248 degrees.  Carefully pour into papered baking dish.  Let set about 4 hours.

Once cooled and set, remove paper and caremel, placing each onto cutting board.  Sprinkle both sides generously with sea salt.  Grease knife so caramel doesn't stick when cutting.  Cut into small pieces and wrap with parchment paper or candy wrappers.  Store in air tight container in a cool place.

Lavender Apple Upside-down Cake

For christmas last year, Miranda from sundrymornings.com gave me, among other delightful treats, lavender sugar.  Which is dried lavender flowers combined with granulated sugar.   Brilliant.  To make your own, mix 1 cup sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender.  If you don't have any lavender or lavender sugar on hand, you can substitute with granulated or brown sugar for this recipe. Lavender Apple Upside-down Cake

1 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup lavender sugar (see above)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.  In a bowl, mix lavender sugar and cinnamon and spread over bottom of greased baking dish.  Layer apples slices in bottom of greased, sugared baking dish.  This will be the top of the cake when finished so feel free to get creative with your apple arrangement. Set aside.

In  a mixing bowl, combine remaining butter and sugar.  Add remaining wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Pour and evenly spread batter over apples. Bake 50 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Run a knife along edges and carefully invert onto flat surface.  Cake is now an upside-down cake.

berry cookies

Is it obvious how much I like cookies?

Berry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

1 cup raspberries or blackberries, chopped

1 bag white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add baking soda, salt and flour.  Add berries and chips.  Use a spoon or scoop to portion dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake about 12 minutes.