Categories
Desserts Eat

Paximathakia the Greek Biscotti

Sometimes life just calls for milk & cookies.

So plain and simple. So comforting and nurturing.

The past few weeks have been wild and wooly… filled with too much to do in too little time and I find myself whirling. I start at point A and somehow manage to spend a day that takes me over-the-river-and-through-the-woods then dumps me on the doorstep weary and tired.

And what better way to wake the weary than a pretty plate filled with delightful little cookies and a cold cup of milk or pipping hot coffee.

And not just any cookies will do.

These beautiful, crunchy, cinnamon-y, clove-y, delightful cookies are the Greek version of biscotti. They have the uncanny ability to melt away stress and comfort my soul in ways I cannot explain.

A traditional Greek cookie called “paximathakia” (say it with me, pa-ksi-ma-tha-kya), they are easy to make and are to die for.

I finally got my mother-in-law to slow down long enough to teach me how to make them. She has “tweaked” the original traditional Greek recipe, changing little things here and there through the years that has made this sweet treat perfection. 

For as long as I can remember, she would make batches of these gorgeous cookies every week to have on-hand for impromptu visits from family and friends. One can always find paximathakia waiting in the cookie jar at Yaya’s house. Maybe that’s why I find so much comfort in the little guys. There’s something so rich and wholesome about family tradition and recipes that stand the test of time.

Now it’s my turn to make batches of these soul satisfying sweet treats.

Cookie therapy.

Who’s with me?

Love & cookies,

Wenderly

Greek Biscotti – Paximathakia

(makes 48 cookies)

Ingredients:

1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup white Zinfandel wine
3 teaspoons baking powder (heaping)
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts (chopped)
2 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour

What To Do:

Briskly whisk oil & sugar in a bowl for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl mix orange juice & baking soda until incorporated, slowly pour into oil & sugar mixture and beat until creamy.

Add wine and orange zest mix well.

Next add baking powder and spices and mix with hands. Slowly add flour about a 1/4 of cup at a time and continue mixing with hands until batter becomes a dough-like consistency.

Add almonds or walnuts (or you can make without any nuts at all) mix with hands until incorporated.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and shape into a round ball. Take a knife and cut a cross into the top of the dough, making four equal sections of dough.

One by one, roll each section into a 12 inch loaf, place two loafs onto a cookie sheet. Pat loaf until even and flat on top and cut 1/2 inch wide marks down loaf being careful not the cut all the way through. (Each loaf makes 12 cookies.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until they start to become golden brown. Take cookie sheet out of the oven, let cool, cut all the way through and then bake for 15 more minutes.

Let cookies cool completely before eating. Cookies can be stored for up to a month in a sealed container.

ENJOY!

Categories
Desserts Eat Snacks

Old Fashioned Potato Candy

Have you ever heard of candy made from a potato?

For years my mom has talked of this mysterious potato candy that she loved as a little girl. She would spend magical summers at her grandparents house gleefully running through grapevine arbors, relishing in the homemade jams and jellies made from the grapes. Hours would melt away watching and helping her grandmother work her magic in the kitchen. Whenever homemade mashed potatoes were served with dinner my mom knew that delicious potato candy wouldn’t be far behind.

My mom and I have been planning to make this sweet treat for, well, more times than I care to count. Somehow life always seems to get in the way and we never seem to get it done. While at the cabin last weekend, the earth, sun and stars of potato-making-candy aligned and a rich, decadent fudge-like candy was the result.

Oh. My. Heavens. Was it good.

It all began while antiquing.

My beloved antiquing.

Something marvelous always comes from antiquing. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we stumbled upon this little darling…

 

What is that you ask?

It’s an antique potato masher.

Everybody needs one, right? 

After spying this precious find, we looked at each other knowingly and said, “guess we’re making homemade mashed potatoes for dinner tonight!”

I must say that I enjoyed the daylights out of that sweet little potato masher. It made homemade mashed potato making all the merrier.

The next day we set to work to recreate the simple yet delicious candy.

Leftover homemade mashed potatoes, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and peanut butter is all you need.

Homemade mashed potatoes are key. They are thicker, heartier and act as a better binder than the boxed mashed potatoes.

Put homemade mashed potatoes, vanilla, and salt into a bowl and add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, while kneading with your hands, until mixture becomes a firm fudge-like consistency.

We played around with the ratios and found that 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes mixed with 5 cups powdered sugar made the perfect batch. Evidently depending on the way in which the mashed potatoes are made, can effect how much powdered sugar you may need. So feel free to use a little less or more than my recipe suggests. Just make sure that the mixture is firm enough to hold its shape and not so dry that it crumbles. Does that make sense?

I recommend dividing the mixture in half. I found that it was much easier to work with a smaller amount when rolling and cutting the candy.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on your work surface and rolling pin then roll into a 1/4 inch thickness.

Spread a thin, but not too thin, layer of peanut butter on top, about 1/4 inch. If you use too much it will squish out the sides when rolling it up.

Then carefully roll into a loaf and cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for at least 1-2 hours before cutting into 1/2 inch slices.

That’s it! Let me just tell you that I had no idea how divine this potato candy would actually be. It tasted like peanut butter fudge.

 

I can’t wait to experiment with some other favorite combinations, like chocolate, or Nutella! Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Seriously, the possibilities are endless!

Now go ahead, impress your friends & family with some good old fashioned love today! Wait till you see the look on their face when you tell them that it’s made with mashed potatoes!

xo-

Wenderly

Old Fashioned Potato Candy

(makes 24 slices)

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup leftover (preferably homemade) mashed potatoes
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (approximately)

What to Do:

Put mashed potatoes, vanilla, and salt into a bowl and add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, while kneading with your hands until mixture becomes a firm fudge-like consistency. You may need a tad more or less of the powdered sugar depending on how the mashed potatoes where made. Make adjustments depending on the texture of the mix, you’ll want it to be firm & dry enough to keep its shape but not too dry that would cause it to crumble.

Divide the mixture in half, sprinkle work surface & rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll the potato candy into a 1/4 inch thickness. Spread a thin, but not too thin, layer of peanut butter on top, about 1/4 inch. If you use too much it will squish out the sides when rolling it up.

Gently roll into a loaf and cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for at least 1-2 hours hours before cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices (approximately 12 per loaf).

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

A Creamy Peanut Butter Pie For Mikey

Life is precious.

And I, for one, know how easy it is to get caught up in the chaos of life and forget about what is really important.

Last week, I was reminded about how precious life really is.

A friend of mine, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband suddenly last Sunday. Jennie is someone that I’ve met through the wonderful world of Twitter and got to meet in real life a few weeks ago. She is a warm, witty, genuine person that I hope to know for a very long time. Jennie wrote a beautiful post about her husband, Mikey, and requested,

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

So I did.

I made Jennie’s Creamy Peanut Butter Pie.

I scrambled for the ingredients and gathered a handful of peanuts and mindlessly began to chop.

I was so wrapped up in my thoughts, my fears, my sadness.

I had to improvise with a ready-made crust and my inner voice screamed loudly in my mind  “THAT’s not good enough.”

I froze.

I decided to abandon all good intentions for making a creamy peanut butter pie.

Then like a bolt of lightning surging through my body, I realized that what Jennie was asking us to do was love the ones we’re with.

Not to make the perfect creamy peanut butter pie. But to love all who surround you… with all of your heart. Today. This very moment.

I moved on.

I melted dark chocolate instead of semisweet. I used a pre-made chocolate cookie crust instead of a homemade one. I embraced the improvisions.

And I pondered how life isn’t perfect. How I’m not perfect. How those I love aren’t perfect. But how loving them…fully loving them warts and all…is somehow perfect, especially when faced with the possibility of not having them.

I scooped the peanut butter out of the jar and measured it. It was sticky and messy and unruly and difficult to measure perfectly. Yet it was intoxicatingly pea-nutty…the very essence of the creamy peanut butter pie that I was making.

Instantly I became aware of my unintentional irritation that I was experiencing and focused on the beauty of the sticky, unruly peanut butter.

And I thought of the people that I love that can be that way.

Sticky. Unruly. Difficult. Probably characteristics that only I notice because I’m that close to them. Intertwined with them. I would desperately miss that imperfection if it was void of my life.

So, I focused on the beauty rather than the irritation.

I moved on through the recipe and as I worked I thought and prayed for Jennie and her girls.

I prayed for them to be held in the comfort of those who want to help them and comfort them and wrap their arms around them in an acknowledging embrace of their pain.

I poured the creamy, soft, peanut butter filling in to the pie shell and made a promise to myself to be more present in my life.

To love out loud.

Warts and all.

I chuckled to myself when I realized that I had extra pie filling after substituting a pre-made pie crust for a homemade one.

How ironic yet serendipitous.

I poured the extra filling into 3 little individual bowls,

for my three

little individual “love the ones your with”...and I promised to myself to hug them tight.

Sending much love and many prayers, not to mention 8 second hugs to Jennie and her girls.

And wishing for all of you, to love the ones your with…

~ Wenderly

Categories
Desserts Eat

Chocolate Chip Apricot Scones

Hi everyone! This is Jenna from EatLiveRun and I’m honored to be guest posting for Miss Wenderly today. A while back, she did an amazing guest post on my blog that left me drooling for more and I can only hope that this batch of warm chocolate chip apricot scones does her post justice!

 

 

I love scones for many, many reasons. The obvious is that they’re ridiculously delicious, but they also are perfect for those stressful life moments when you need a comforting baked good fast and don’t have time to spend baking bread or cupcakes.

 

You know the feeling.

 

 

The combination of chocolate and apricot is a traditional one, but if you prefer, you could substitute the apricot chunks for dried cranberries and the dark chocolate drizzle for white chocolate. Voila! A whole new scone.

 

 

I hope you enjoy these scones—from my kitchen to yours!

 

Chocolate Chip Apricot Scones

makes 12 scones

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/2 cup + 2 T cream

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips + 1/2 cup chocolate for drizzle

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter with your fingers and work mixture together until it resembles coarse sand. Add the chopped apricots and chocolate chips.

Add the cream and mix with your hands until a dough forms. Make an eight inch circle with the dough and slice into 12 small wedges. Place wedges on a lined baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown.

Melt additional half cup of chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until melted. Put melted chocolate in a small plastic bag, snip off the tip and drizzle scones with chocolate.

Time:

30 minutes

 

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

Sweet Lion & Lamb Cupcakes

 

In like a lion out like a lamb. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Spring in suburbia has indeed come in like a lion and I just pray that it will go out like a lamb.

I’m ready for some sweet sunshine, blue skies and gentle breezes.

Years ago (as in five, but who’s counting?) I saw a picture of some darling lion and lamb cupcakes in a Family Fun magazine. I did my usual…tear out, file and forget about it routine and as the years have slipped by I have never actually made the cupcakes.

Do you ever do that? Well, this year I decided that it was now or never. My girls are, ahem, more mature and a tad less interested in cute little cupcakes. They weren’t so interested in making them with me, however when they laid their eyes on them they couldn’t help but to “awwwwwwww”  and “that is SO cute, can I have one?”

And I did what every chicken little mama would do…

I said, “nope” “if you didn’t want to help then you don’t get to enjoy”.

Just kidding.

Of course I let them dig in and I’m pleased to report that they enjoyed the daylights out of them. Actually I don’t know who enjoyed them more, me or them. It was such a delight to watch my very mature, distinguished teen and pre-teen children happily lick their very mature and distinguished lips in between happy giggles. I even suggested sending them in their lunches and well, you can only imagine the <eye rolling> and verbal responses that I received.

So… I just kept pouring them milk and feeding them cupcakes. I just had to relish in the moment as long as they’d let me. That’s innocent enough isn’t it?

Can you tell that I’m having a hard time watching my babies turn into young ladies? <sniff>

The cupcakes were a cinch… I made the lion as I had remembered it from the magazine and created the lamb myself. I baked some boxed cupcakes, iced half the batch with yellow icing and half with white.

For the lion, I put orange gum drops for the mane, a brown jelly bean cut in half for the eyes, an upside-down cinnamon chip for the nose and some sour tape cut into strips for the whiskers.

For the lamb, I used two blue gum balls for the eyes, a pink jelly bean for the nose and then covered every other inch of the cupcake with mini marshmallows.

I got so carried away I even made a duck for good measure. I figure that I should cover all my bases.

Sometimes life just calls for fun and sweet innocence doesn’t it?

I hope you treat yourself to some today.

Wishing you & yours a Happy Spring full of everything sweet…and innocent.

Wenderly

Categories
Desserts Eat

Celebrating One Year with a Triple Chocolate Torte

Wenderly turned ONE this week!

I seriously cannot believe that an entire year has flown by. It seems like yesterday that I clicked the “publish” button for the first time moments before dashing out the door to church Easter morning. The adrenaline mixed with the gazillion butterflies flitting around in my belly at that very moment have never quite gone away. This past year has been filled with one incredible experience after the next and I will cherish each and every one of them for a lifetime.

Yesterday I was reflective, but today I wanna CELEBRATE so I’ve decided to share the most scrumdillyicious, decadent dessert that I can think of…

A Triple Chocolate Torte.

This cake has been our ceremonial go-to-cake for any special occasion, birthday or holiday for as long as I can remember! It is a show stopper above all showstoppers, a crowd pleaser like no other and nothing less than delectable.

I’d like to thank all of YOU wonderful people out there and you certainly deserve nothing less than the best.

So here we go, let’s make the cake, shall we?

This triple chocolate torte has three steps, go figure…

First we’ll make the cake, you’ll need…


Buttermilk, oil, eggs, baking soda, flour, Hershey’s® cocoa, sugar and salt.

 

Start by separating the eggs.

 

Once you’ve done that, put the egg whites in a mixing bowl.

 

With a whisk attachment, beat until nice and foamy.

 

Add 1/2 cup of sugar,

one teaspoon at a time..

 

You’ll want to continue mixing until stiff peaks form.

With a spatula, gently scrape egg whites into a separate bowl.

 

Pour remaining cup of sugar and all other dry ingredients into the mixing bowl,

 

add buttermilk,

 

oil,

 

and two egg yolks.

 

Mix until smooth.

 

Gently fold in the egg whites.

 

Mix until incorporated and batter turns a yummy milk chocolate color.

Pour batter into two 9-inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper that have been sprayed with non-stick baking spray.

 

Bake in 350º oven for 25 to 30 minutes until center springs back when lightly touched. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in pan before turning out onto cooling rack.

While waiting for cakes to cool, we’ll get started on the heavenly chocolate cream filling.

 

You’ll need,


Hershey’s® cocoa, sugar, cold whipping cream and vanilla extract.

 

Beat ingredients on low speed until thick and creamy and set aside (try not to eat it all before assembling the cake).

 

The third and final step…the chocolate glaze!

You’ll need,


Semi-sweet chocolate chips, light corn syrup, butter and water.

 

After bringing the butter, corn syrup and water to a boil in a small saucepan,

add the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

 

Mix until the glaze becomes nice and shiny.


Let cool to room temperature.

 

And NOW the time has come to assemble the cake. Place cake round on plate, slather with chocolate cream filling, place second cake on top and gently press down to make cake even.

Pour chocolate glaze and spread evenly all over top and sides of cake.

 

 

Or just let the glaze ooze over the edges rather than smoothing it out. The choice is yours.

 

Once the glaze is set, cut a big slice…

Sit down to enjoy the most scrumptious chocolaty cake you’ve ever put in your mouth.

Thank you for a magical year.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Wenderly

Triple Chocolate Torte
Author: Wendy Hondroulis | Wenderly adapted from Hershey’s cookbook (I think)
The most scrumptious chocolaty cake you’ve ever put in your mouth.
Ingredients
  • [b]For the cake :[/b]
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar divided
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • [b]For the filling :[/b]
  • 2/3 cup suger
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (cold)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • [b]For the glaze :[/b]
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. For the cake batter :
  3. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy.
  4. Slowly add in 1/2 cup sugar, teaspoon at a time, until the mixture makes stiff peaks.
  5. Remove mixture from mixing bowl and set aside.
  6. Next put all dry ingredients, including remaining cup of sugar into mixing bowl and give a stir.
  7. Add the two egg yolks, oil and buttermilk and mix until smooth.
  8. Carefully fold eggs whites and sugar into the batter with a spatula until incorporated.
  9. Pour batter into parchment lined pans and bake until cakes gently spring back after being touched in center, 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Let cakes cool 5 minutes in pan before turning onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.
  11. While cakes are cooling it’s time to make the chocolate filling.
  12. For the Chocolate Filling :
  13. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment combine the sugar, cocoa, whipping cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until filling becomes stiff. (Then stick your finger in and taste a little cloud of heaven, repeat as necessary).
  14. Now it’s time to make the chocolate glaze.
  15. For the Chocolate Glaze:
  16. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, light corn syrup and water and stir until the mixture just comes to a boil.
  17. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stir until chips are melted and glaze is shiny.
  18. To Assemble:
  19. Trace and cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of two 9-inch round baking pans and spray with a non-stick baking spray.
  20. Generously spread chocolate cream filling all over one cake.
  21. Place second cake on top and gently press down with hand to make cake even.
  22. Carefully clean edges of cake where filling may have squeezed out.
  23. Then pour cooled chocolate glaze on top of cake and spread evenly on top and sides.
  24. Let set.
  25. Store leftovers in fridge (if there are any).
  26. Enjoy!

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

Nutella Fudge Brownies

I have a secret. It’s short and very sweet.

Are you ready?

You can make mouthwatering desserts with only 4 ingredients.

It’s true.

I made these delectable Nutella® Fudge Brownies with 4 ingredients faster and easier that you could jump in your car and drive to the supermarket to buy some.

Seriously.

4 is such a wonderful number dontcha think? There are 4 seasons. A car has 4 tires. Most animals have 4 legs. There are 4 people in my family. 4 is an even number which I happen to prefer over odd numbers unless I’m vignetting, in which case odd numbers work better. I have no idea what any of that necessarily has to do with making brownies except that I made these brownies in no time flat with only 4 ingredients.

Wanna know how I did it? Well then, let me introduce to you, Desserts 4 Today

This nifty cookbook is the pure genius of Abby Dodge. Abby is a former pastry chef, contributing editor of Fine Cooking magazine, author of 7 cookbooks and a very lovely lady of whom I had the pleasure of meeting this past summer at Big Summer Potluck. This cookbook is filled to the brim with fantastic desserts ranging from a Raspberry-White Chocolate Tart to Toasted Pistachio Crisps or how does a Rum-Raisin Bananas Foster sound? All of these decadent sweet treats made with only 4 ingredients (with “switch-in” options). In no time flat.

Look how easy it is. These are your 4 ingredients:

Some Nutella (from which I may or may have not licked 4 spoons of the chocolaty, hazel-nutty goodness. Just keeping up with the theme ya know).

Some flour.

Some chopped almonds. The recipe called for hazelnuts but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted with almonds.

An egg.

That’s it. Mix the Nutella, flour and egg and pour into a mini muffin pan filled with liners. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and bake.

I mean can you believe that Nutella Fudge Brownies could be this easy?

The most difficult part?

Not eating them all!

Happy Baking!

Wenderly

Here’s the recipe!

Nutella Fudge Brownies
Desserts 4 Today by Abby Dodge
Makes 12 brownies

1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used almonds)

Preheat oven to 350º

In a medium bowl, whisk Nutella and egg until smooth. Add flour and whisk until completely incorporated.

Pour batter into a mini muffin tin lined with paper or foil liners, fill about 3/4 full. Then sprinkle generously with chopped hazelnuts (or almonds).

Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist/wet crumbs stuck to it (you’ll want these nice and fudgy). Cool completely on cooling rack. Serve immediately or (if there are any left), you can store them for up to 3 days in a sealed container at room temperature!

Switch-Ins
Instead of hazelnuts, feel free to switch in one of the following:
• ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon (add in with flour)
• peanuts, 1/4 cup chopped (sprinkle on top before baking)

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Pound Cake & a Giveaway *Closed*

It’s the week after Christmas, the day before New Year’s Eve and I’ve decided to make chocolate pound cake.

Doesn’t everyone do that?

My house is a mess, my laundry isn’t done and my pants are giving me an added extra hug that I just don’t seem to remember feeling a mere two weeks ago.

Sooooo, I’ve decided that cake, a chocolate POUND cake mind you, would be the perfect solution to my dilemma.

I figure…extra pounds on me + pound cake + a dash of denial = BLISS.

Makes sense doesn’t it? Well to me it does. And this isn’t any ol’ pound cake either. Nope. It’s a Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate pound cake. You see I recently received a lovely cookbook and a trio of cookies to review from Tate’s Bake Shop, a fabulous little bakery located in Southampton run by Kathleen King. Ina Garten wrote the forward in this delicious cookbook and many have praised the incredible cookies including Rachel Ray and the New York Times. As I excitedly opened the package I did what any other food blogger would do, I immediately sampled the cookies, hid them from my family and anxiously began reading the cookbook from stem to stern.

Just kidding, I graciously shared the infamous cookies with my family and then hid them…

Well... wait until you try them and you’ll see why! They are the perfect combination of buttery, sweet… but not too sweet, crispy on the edges, soft in the middle, I’ll-just-have-ONE-more-nobody-will-notice-except-my-jeans kinda cookies.

Which brings me back to the decadent pound cake…

and my jeans that give me an unwanted hug…

and the fact that I’ll be living at the gym in 2011…

and my family that feels loved because I made them a Chocolate pound cake to make up for the cookies that I coveted in my pantry.

O.k. enough about me.

Now it’s time for YOU! You get the chance to win a delicious trio of your very own oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia nut, and chocolate chip cookies (that you may or may not hide from your family).

AND your very own copy of the Tate’s Bake Shop cookbook to drool over.

You get 2 chances to win!

  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you favorite dessert is!
  • For an additional entry, head over to the Tate’s Bake Shop Facebook Page and become a fan. Once you’ve done that, then come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know that you are a Tate’s Bake Shop fan.

This giveaway will end next Thursday, January 6 at midnight EST at which time one lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified. Contest is open to US residents only (sorry to my Canadian friends) Tate’s will ship directly to you.

If you act fast there’s still time for Tate’s 15% discount to anyone to uses the code “cookie” when checking out until December 31st!

Here’s one more taste of the delicious chocolate pound cake!

Good Luck & wishing you all the BEST in 2011!

Wenderly

************** WINNER ***************

We have a winner folks! Thanks so very much to all who joined in the fun!!

So now it’s the time that we’ve all been waiting for…

Who will get to indulge (or perhaps hide) a trio of scrumptious cookies and a enjoy a lovely cookbook from Tate’s Bake Shop?

The lucky winner is…

Stacy! Who said,

“Plain and simple…Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite!!”

Congratulations Stacy! I’ll be contacting you about the details!

And thanks again to the great folks at Tate’s Bake Shop for sponsoring this fun giveaway!

Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Chocolate Pound Cake

Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook

1 cup Dutch-processed coco powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup salted butter, softened room temperature
2 cups Sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbsp water

Preheat over to 325º F. Grease a 10″ Bundt pan.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl. With and electric mixer beat them until they are light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Mix the sour cream and water.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with half of the sour cream mixture in three stages, beginning and ending with the flour mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl between stages.

Spread the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake it for 1hr. Remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Turn it out into a wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: I added a drizzle of chocolate glaze just for a little pizazz.

Chocolate Glaze

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine butter, corn syrup and water into small sauce pan bringing to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat then mix in chips until shiny and smooth. Cool slightly then drizzle over cake

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

The Fabulous Flop

Have you ever tried to make something that you totally botched up, twice?

Well I did. And I’ve decided to share it with all of you.

I made a French Silk pie. It’s the most luxurious, chocolaty bite of deliciousness that you would ever want to put in your mouth. I had somehow forgotten about this decadent treat, until I was raiding my mom’s recipe box the other day. I happened to stumble upon a treasure of recipes that took me on the most delightful stroll down memory lane. I spent hours giggling with delight while pouring over all of the wonderful dishes and desserts that were so lovingly handwritten by my mom that had been the foundation of my childhood.

I’m not sure who was more delighted…my mom or me…as I left my childhood home with an arm load of recipes. Once home, I relished in the recipes for a while longer and then I knew what I had to do.

I had to make French Silk pie.

My beloved French Silk pie. I’m not even sure that I ever knew, or cared for that matter, what the name of that delicious pie was. All I knew or ever cared about was how much I loved it. The cool, slightly minty and ever so creamy chocolate contrasted with the crumbly pecan crust was like heaven on earth. I just had to have it and I had to have it now

How hard could it be? I thought.

I mean I had the recipe right in front of me written in my own mother’s handwriting AND she was only but a phone call away if I happened to have difficulties.

See?

It was all just perfect. Too perfect. Little did I know of what lay ahead of me.

I was off and running while humming a happy tune.

I gathered the ingredients for the delectable pecan crust: brown sugar, butter, flour and pecans.

Put the flour, brown sugar and pecans in a bowl…

and then began to cut in the butter.

<insert scratch of needle on record here>…

While gleefully cutting in the butter with my pastry cutter, one of the wires decided to break with a loud thwaaaaaaang and proceed to fling pie crust all over my kitchen.

But that didn’t thwart my enthusiasm for my beloved French Silk pie. Oh nooooooo.

I was more amused than anything by the momentary dilemma, I laughed it off and moved right along.

I happily poured the crust mixture into my pie pan and dutifully placed it into the oven and set the timer.

However… I failed to press start.

Brilliant.

As I blissfully went about my business, I began to realize that 15 minutes had come and gone.

I ran to the oven and found this…

By beautiful pie crust was burned.

Halfheartedly I continued on with my mission. I proceeded to make the luscious filling, chilled the pie as instructed and went to dig in. Much to my dismay, the knife that had easily glided through the creamy chocolate deliciousness came to a screeching halt. That burned pie crusted was as hard as a petrified rock.

From the ICE AGE.

So you know what I did? I went for Round 2.

I’m a stubborn girl. And I was on a mission to make a French Silk pie that would make my mama proud. Not to mention satiate my own hankering for a slice of heaven.

So off I went.

I made the crust…

And pushed start this time.

And whaddaya know? A beautiful crust appeared.

Timing is everything.

Next, I collected the ingredients to make the sinfully good filling: butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, peppermint extract and unsweetened chocolate.

O.k. I thought, I’m on a roll now.

I began humming once again.

I creamed the butter and sugar and added the vanilla and peppermint extract.

I smugly added the melted chocolate.

I then, very cautiously and meticulously added each egg.

One at a time, beating each one, as instructed for exactly 5 minutes.

Ha! I thought to myself. I’ve totally got this now.

I let my masterpiece chill all day long just to be absolutely, positively certain that it would be perfection. I was after all, having a dinner party that night and I just knew that this French Silk pie would be the perfect way to end a delightful dinner…right?

An hour before my guests arrived I embellished the pie with sweet little dollops of whipped cream. Everything looked fabulous so far. My Yanni offered to help with the chocolate curls as I went to powder my nose. I pushed all trepidation aside as we enjoyed our evening. Finally the time had come for the unveiling of the French Silk pie, my guests waited eagerly. They had of course heard all about my first flop. Certainly the second round would prove success, right?

Uhhhhhhhh, not so much cocky-pants.

I could not even bring myself to take a photo of what I pulled out of the fridge that night. The whipped cream had, well, unwhipped and turned into a pile of mush. The chocolate “curls” that my husband had so graciously offered to “curl” looked like thousands of tiny ants who were lucky enough to find a pie to consume. Sorry honey. The luscious filling was like loose pudding. The crust? Well the crust wasn’t burned. Let’s just leave it at that.

This photo was taken the morning after when I could finally bring myself to face the music.

It did taste good. Not quiet a slice of heaven per say, but good.

As long as you closed your eyes.

So I’ve learned to embrace the “flop.”

If it’s going to be a flop, it may as well be a fabulous flop, right?

And as for the French Silk pie, well 3’s a charm I always say… and trust me there will be a third.

Cheers to embracing the fabulous flop!

Wenderly

Here’s the handy dandy recipe for you to try!  Please report back and let me know if  YOU were able to pull it off!

Here’s what you’ll need for the crust:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 pecans (finely chopped)
1/4 lb butter

Here’s what you’ll do for to make the crust:
Mix first three ingredients together, then cut in butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until crumbly. Place mixture into a 9×13 inch pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 400º then take out, gently pat crust down and chill in fridge.

Here’s what you’ll need for the filling:

1/4 lb butter-softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 squares unsweetened chocolate- melted
4 eggs

Here’s what you’ll do to make the filling:

Cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and peppermint extract, mix, add melted chocolate mix until all is incorporated. Next add 1 egg at a time and mix for 5 minutes each (this is very important) on high speed. Pour mixture into crust and chill in fridge until set, at least a few hours. Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Enjoy!


Categories
Crafts Desserts Eat Make

Thankful Muffins

With Thanksgiving and the holidays fast approaching, my mind is a buzz with ten thousand different things that I must somehow accomplish in the days that I’ve got left. Every year the same thing seems to happen as I find myself stepping into the second week of November.

I find myself making lists…

And checking them twice, even thrice.

Then there’s shopping.

More lists.

Cleaning.

More shopping.

Panicking.

A mild breakdown that leads to a “why in the world do I do this to myself every year?”

A self talk that usually involves more list making, perhaps a glass of wine with soft music and candles and then finally a calm

I remember that I am human, not super woman…

that I live in Suburbia not on an HGTV set…

and that my guests and family will remember the special details not the hours that I’ve spent killing myself.

So you know what I do to make Thanksgiving less stressful? I make boxed pumpkin muffins iced with a pre-made icing and topped with a sweet festive handmade flag!

Here’s how to do it…

A box mix is so simple and easy and ya know what? It still fills my house with the deliciously intoxicating spicy pumpkin aroma that the muffins from scratch do. Only with less work.

I happen to love the Trader Joe’s pumpkin mix! It’s fabulous!

Have you ever tried Pillsbury’s cream cheese frosting? Um, incredible.

I could whip up the frosting in no time flat, but why bother when I have this?

Begin by following the easy directions on your boxed pumpkin mix, pour the batter into pretty paper muffin liners placed in a muffin tin (I used the gold ones) and bake according to box instructions.

While the muffins are baking, it’s time to make the flags.

Here’s what you’ll need: a paper cutter (or scissors) glue, and some pretty paper.

I happen to love scrap booking paper as you may already know, but any paper will do. I chose colors and subtle patterns that I thought looked “Thanksgivingly.”

You’ll also need toothpicks.

Now cut the paper into long, thin strips (the length of the paper)using a paper cutter or scissors.

After you’ve cut the long strips, you’ll then want to cut them into 4 inch long pieces.

Fold the four inch piece in half and cut a little triangle piece out of the open end. Then squeeze a bead of glue on the inside of the fold and down the inside length of the flag, place the toothpick along the fold and hold the two pieces together until you think that they’ve stuck together.

Next, grab a pen and write what you’re thankful for on the flag. It can be anything, family, laughter, hope, Starbucks…oops, did I just say that out loud?

Or sometimes I just like to write my guests names on one side and what I’m thankful for about them on the other side!

Just use your imagination and have fun with it! Obviously this idea can carry over to any holiday or special event!

After the muffins have cooled and you’ve told your kids for the hundredth time that they can’t eat any muffins until Thanksgiving…

Just slather on some of that creamy, rich and yummy pre-made icing…

Then stick a flag toothpick right in the center…

and make a silent promise to yourself to never, ever, let yourself get stressed about hosting a family holiday or get together again.

Aren’t they just darling?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned through all the blood, sweat and tears of life, it’s that life is too short to be stressed and to always try to have a house full of …

Now go enjoy the holidays! I know I will!

Wenderly