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    Bringing back the lost art of home cooking.
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    Apr 30, 2013 4:31PM

    Pine Nut Tart


    I had a piece of Pine Nut Tart at KR Steak Bar a few weeks ago and have not been able to get it off my mind.  A Pine Nut Tart (or Pie) is the Italian, sophisticated cousin of a traditional pecan pie. The pine nuts are creamy and have a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.  Pine nuts are naturally high in monounsaturated fat which give them an incredible buttery texture.  It makes for a decadent and complex pie that everyone will rave over. I like to serve it at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream.


    Click here for the recipe.

     

     

     
    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: pine nuts, Tart, pie
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    Feb 28, 2013 4:48PM

    One Bowl Brownies

    There is nothing I hate more than cleaning pots and pans. So, when I find a recipe that can be made in one pot or one bowl, AND it is delicious, I feel like I have struck culinary gold.

    These brownies can be made using only one microwavable bowl, a spatula and a baking pan.  Using only six ingredients, you can have moist, tender and chewy brownies in less than 45 minutes from start to finish.  Once you make these brownies, you will never again make brownies from a mix.

    One Bowl Brownies

    4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
    3/4 cup butter
    2 cups white sugar
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
    Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.
    Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts.
    Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes (do not overbake).

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: brownies, dessert, chocolate
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    Feb 4, 2013 7:06AM

    5 Ingredient Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies



    Craving something chewy and chocolately?  Yeah...me too. Whip up a batch of these flourless dark chocolate cookies. The flour has been replaced with whipped egg whites, which give the cookies a light and chewy texture. No one would ever guess that there is no flour in these cookies, nor would anyone guess that each cookie has only 72 calories.  In addition, look how gorgeous they are.  Perfect for a holiday cookie swap, Passover or a bake sale.


    Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies

    Makes about 24 cookies
    Each cookie is approx. 72 calories

    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces)
    3 large egg whites, room temperature
    2 cups powdered sugar, divided (plus 1/2 cup for cookie coating)
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
    Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 (I halved the sugar here) cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow cream.

    Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue
    Mix lukewarm chocolate mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

    Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart.

    Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes.

    Transfer to rack, cool.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
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    Dec 30, 2012 7:33PM

    Fudge

    This is the simplest, easiest and fastest way to make fudge.   If you need a super quick holiday treat or a last minute hostess gift, this recipe is perfect. It is made with ingredients that you can always keep in your pantry. Or you could make a few batches and keep it in your freezer. 

    You can get creative with this basic recipe. Of course, you could mix in any nut you want (try chopped hazelnuts), or leave the nuts out all together. Replace the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips for peanut butter fudge. Some other mix-in options are mini-marshmallows, raisins, dried cherries, candied ginger and coconut. Get creative. One favorite of mine is to sprinkle the top with sea salt.


    Fudge

    3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    1/4 cup butter
    1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwaveable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Stir in nuts, if desired.
    Pour into well-greased 8x8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: fudge, chocolate
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    Dec 6, 2012 9:14PM

    Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

    I am so backlogged with the Pinterest recipes I have been meaning to try. I had a bunch of them printed up and sitting on the kitchen counter when Joey spotted this one. He picked the recipe up and asked, "When are you making these?!?!?". That was all the encouragement I needed to start baking.

    They are very easy to make, and the reviews have been excellent. Since these brownies end up being quite thick, I suggest cutting them into fairly small squares. I ended up with about 30 bars. Twenty of those bars will go in the freezer to have a handy, homecooked dessert when needed.

    Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

    9x13 pan of brownies, baked and cooled
    1/4 cup salted butter, softened
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1 & 1/4 cups pretzel m&m's

    With an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugars, and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about 1 minute more. Add the milk and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, and continue to mix at low speed until fully combined. Stir in the m&m's.

    Spoon the cookie dough onto the cooled brownies and spread gently into an even layer. Slice into squares, and prepare for your life to change.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: cookie dough, M&Ms, brownies
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    Nov 14, 2012 4:16PM

    Butterscotch Pudding

    Have you ever read the ingredient list on a package of instant pudding? It looked something like this: modified food starch, Maltodextrin (from corn), Tetrasodium pyrophosphate and Disodium phosphate (for thickening), Contains less than 2% of skim milk, artificial flavor, salt, calcium sulfate, xanthan gum (for smooth texture), mono- and diglycerides (prevent foaming), aspartame and acesulfame potassium (sweeteners), yellow 6, yellow 5, artificial color.

    Compare that to the ingredients in homemade pudding...eggs, milk, sugar, butter....  One is wholesome and delicious and the other one is loaded with chemicals. It baffles me that one would use a mix, when making it from scratch only takes an extra 5 minutes and tastes 100% better. Plus, you get to lick the bowl!

    Butterscotch Pudding

    2 ½ c. milk
    ¾ c. heavy cream
    4 large egg yolks
    ¾ c. dark brown sugar
    ¼ c. cornstarch
    ½ tsp. coarse salt
    2 T. butter
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 tsp. bourbon

    In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil. remove from heat.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, yolks, brown sugar and salt until well combined.

    Pour a splash of hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuosly. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk.

    Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about 3 - 4 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.

    Remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and bourbon.

    Strain pudding through a fine mesh sieve into eight 4-6oz. ramekins. Chill 4 - 6 hours until firm and cold.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: butterscotch pudding
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    Aug 29, 2012 6:17PM

    Dulce De Leche Cheesecake

    I made this cheesecake for a dinner party Phil and I had a few nights ago, and it was the big hit of the night!

    Dulce de leche is a Spanish, milk based caramel, and it is heavenly.  You can buy it in a can or make your own. It is so easy to make, and it will store in your refrigerator for several weeks.  Click here for my favorite recipe.

    I baked the cheesecake a week before I needed it.  I cooled it in the refrigerator overnight, then wrapped it really well with plastic wrap and kept it in the freezer until the night before I needed it.  Could not be any easier, or more delicious.

     Dulce De Leche Cheesecake

    Crust:
    1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed vanilla wafers
    3 tbsp. butter, melted
    Filling:
    3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (24 oz. total)
    1 cup superfine granulated sugar
    2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    3 eggs
    1/3 cup whole milk
    1/2 cup ready-made or homemade Dulce de leche sauce
    Extra Dulce de leche sauce

    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    Mix crust ingredients together, and press into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
    Reset oven temperature to 325°F.

    With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until well blended.
    Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add Dulce de Leche sauce and stir until well combined.
    Pour plain batter over crust. Top with Dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula.

    Bake in preheated 325°F  oven for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake . Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving. If desired, serve each slice drizzled with a little bit of dulce de leche sauce, or pass around a bowl of dulce de leche sauce for guest's to help themselves.


    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: Dulce de Leche, cheesecake
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    Jun 30, 2012 12:24PM

    Peach-Vanilla Bean Sorbet

     


    The texture of this sorbet is somewhere between soft-serve ice cream and dense, chewy traditional gelato. Depending on the sweetness of your peaches, you may want to add more sugar.
     
    Vanilla bean is my personal favorite addition to plain peach sorbet (which is certainly delicious on its own), but there many ways to customize your peach sorbet. Some ideas for additions include: basil, strawberries, blueberries, lime, amaretto, or ginger. You could also substitute maple syrup or honey for the sugar.
     
     
    5 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted *
    1/4 cup sugar, or more, to taste
    1 vanilla bean
    1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt


    Dice the peaches.  Arrange the peach pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

    While peaches are freezing, scrape out the paste from inside the vanilla bean and mix it in with the sugar.  Allow it to infuse until ready to use.

    Place the frozen peach pieces in a food processor with the sugar and yogurt.  Process until pureed and smooth.
     
    *In a pinch your could use frozen peaches from the store, but fresh peaches really are best. Do not used canned peaches.
    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: Vanilla Bean, peach, sorbet, vanilla
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    Dec 16, 2011 5:46PM

    Oreo Truffles

     

     

    I almost forgot about these, until my friend Lori brought me some that she made for a holiday cookie exchange.  No one can eat these without exclaiming, "Mmmmmm."  These are great treats to have on hand during the holidays when you like to give a little something extra to a teacher, hairdresser, or friend during the holiday season.

    This recipe originated with Kraft, and it quickly spread like wildfire, not only because they are decadent and delicious, but also because they are ridicously easy to make, they freeze beautifully and they can be customized in pretty much any way you want.  You can customize them by using different flavors of Oreos and/or by rolling the finished truffle in anything from sprinkles to powdered sugar to crushed Oreo.  As always, my favorite topping is to sprinkle a little bit of flaky sea salt over the top.  Sweet and creamy mixed with salty and crunchy.

    My recipe differs from other people's just a little bit in the technique.  I simplified it to make the preparation go faster.  Some people like to crush the cookies by hand and mix in the cream cheese with a spoon.  I like the results in the food processor much better, and it is much quicker.

     

    Orea Truffles

    1 (16oz.) package Oreo cookies
    1 (8oz) block of cream cheese, softened to room temp.
    1 (12oz.) package of chocolate chips (white, semisweet, milk or dark)

    Crush all of the cookies in a food processor. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Add the cream cheese to the cookie crumbs and mix until the cookies begin to form a ball.

    Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

    Place the chips in a microwave safe bowl, and cook on high for one minute.  Mix and continue to melt the chocolate in 20 second increments until the mixture is smooth.

    Dip balls in chocolate; place on the same cookie sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) If you have decided to roll the truffles in a topping, do it now.

    Refrigerate the truffles until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator or freeze for up to two months.

     

     

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: cream cheese, balls, Truffles, Oreos
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    Nov 20, 2011 8:35PM

    One Bowl Chocolate Cobbler

    This was my very first time cooking and tasting a chocolate cobbler.  I had a great story to tell you about this cobbler.  I had it all typed out and ready to publish, when the computer screen froze and I had to force quit Safari.  I lost all of my work.

    It is Sunday night and I am too tired to rewrite it.  What I will tell you is that this Chocolate Cobbler is outstanding.  I really want to get the recipe to you ASAP because this is a great dessert to make on Thanksgiving, or to bring to someone else's house.

    The best way to describe Chocolate Cobbler is that it is like one big lava cake.  I consider myself an expert in Chocolate Lava cake because it is one of my favorite desserts.  This one ranks in the top three, all time, most delicious chocolate dessert.

    Seriously, try it!

     

    One Bowl Chocolate Cobbler

     


    1 c. all-purpose flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    ¼ tsp. salt
    7 T. cocoa powder, divided
    1 ¼ c. white sugar, divided
    1 ¼ c. milk
    ⅓ c. melted butter
    1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
    ½ c. brown sugar, divided
    1 ½ c. hot tap water

    Preheat oven to 350 F.

    In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, 3 T.cocoa and ¾ c. of the white sugar.

    Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

    Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8 X 8 glass baking dish.  Use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of bowl.

    In the same bowl (no need to wash it) mix the remaining ½ c. white sugar, the brown sugar and the remaining 4 T. cocoa.  Sprinkle this mixture over the batter.

    Pour the hot tap water all over the top.  DO NOT STIR!

    Bake for 40 minutes, or until the center has set.

    Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.  I highly recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

     

    0 Comments ~ Posted By GwennW
    Filed in: dessert ~ Tagged with: cocoa powder, cobbler, chocolate