Total Pageviews

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Sometimes knowing which recipes to avoid is just as important as knowing which ones are keepers. These cookies are terrible. Do not waste your time with them. They're so bad that I threw them out.

To be called orange cookies, the taste of orange turned out to be undetectable. They have the eggy taste of a poorly executed pound cake, except with a hint of cardboard flavor. Strike that, cardboard has MORE flavor than these cookies. I would have been okay with a subtle orange flavor. I would have rhapsodized about a strong orange flavor that really hit me over the head, but I received neither. I'm posting the recipe so that you'll know to avoid it. Read it, memorize, and then run far, far away from it.

Original Recipe Yield 33 servings


1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking powder

1  teaspoon baking soda


2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes), melted


1.In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange juice and peel. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.

2.Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

3.In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over cooled cookies.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This could have been really adult friendly brownie. But, I think that the baking time on the recipe was a typo. All other brownie recipes that I've ever tried, that called for a 9 x 9 pan to be used, have had a baking time of between 45 to 60 minutes. This recipe calls for a baking time of 35 minutes. When I took them out of the oven, they were still very gooey, but I figured they would firm up. After an hour of cooling, the middle was a raw puddle of batter. So, I put them back in the oven for another 30 mins to try to fix the mess. It didn't work. The brownies never did set up.

What a raw mess. The batter tasted good though. I'd give you the recipe, but I think I'll wait and hand it over when I've actually gotten a quality result out of it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Wanna see a pic of one of my Birthday gifts?

Isn't he cool? I've decided to name him Freddy Undeady.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Year Old

One year ago today, I gave birth to this blog. It didn't hurt a bit, but it has caused some stretch marks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


These tomatoes are all that's left of the blazing hot summer that I thought would never leave. The "summer of the hole" being in the bag, is a relief. I've spent the past few months putting in extra hours at work, and at home. The dreary slow down that is Fall, is a welcome respite after spending so much time in a state of puddledom. It's been a tough season, full of a lot of change in my life, some of it good, some of it traumatic, so bye-bye heat index of the damned, so long, and thanks for all the tomatoes.

The dark clouds, and the crisp mornings are already putting me in a better mood.

Let's give some more lip service to pie.

Pie somehow became the star of the dessert world. That's fine, I disagree with its stardom, but who I am I to buck hundreds of years of tradition? If I have to eat pie, I'm picky about what flavors I'm willing to spear my fork into. If I'm going to make a pie, I'm even more picky. I'll make apple pies for others, but in my eyes the only true fruit pie is cherry. The mixture of tartness and sweetness sings in your mouth. It works well with so many different toppings, cinnamon crumb, whipped cream, and is one of the few that goes well topped with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla.

Fresh cherries can be purchased in my area, but they're inveritably Bings. No offense to the Bing variety but they make for a pie that's too sweet. A nice, even balance of sweet and tart cherries do the trick, which is why I like *whispers* canned pie filling. I know, I'm a big supporter of canned pie filling for cherry pie, with caveats. The secret to a great cherry pie, is ditch the goo. You know what I'm talking about. The goo, the gel, the  so called cherry packing product. A can of "extra fruit" pie filling, mixed with a can of tart cherries in juice ensures the right flavor and the right consistency.

This particular pie was made for Mr. Icequeen's co-worker as a going away gift. This co-worker left her job, and her home state to start a new life. New beginnings can be so exciting, a chance to re-invent yourself and re-shape your world, for some it really is the final frontier.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This is my birthday cake, but I didn't make it, my husband did. I can't say enough about the fudgy chocolate layers, the salty, creamy pistacho filling. Wow, this cake was delicious. But, I do have a weakness for pistachios, and pistachio pudding.....and brownies. I've posted the recipe below. Please, make this cake.

Prep Time: 1 Hr

Total Time: 2 Hr 45 Min

Makes: 16


Cake1box (19.5 oz) Pillsbury® Traditional Fudge Brownie Mix1/2cup CRISCO® Pure Canola Oil1/4cup water3Eggland's Best eggs Mousse1box (4-serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix3/4cup cold whole milk1cup cold whipping (heavy) cream1/2cup pistachio nuts, coarsely choppedGlaze1/2cup whipping (heavy) cream4oz semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped1teaspoon vanilla1teaspoon light corn syrupGarnish1/2cup whipping (heavy) cream2tablespoons powdered sugarReserved 1 tablespoon pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix

User Rating: DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom of 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Line bottoms of pans with cooking parchment paper; lightly spray paper with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water and eggs 50 strokes with spoon. Spread half of batter (1 1/2 cups) evenly in each pan.

Bake 27 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from edge of pan comes out clean. Cool in pans on cooling racks 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen. Place cooling rack upside down on 1 pan; turn rack and pan over. Remove pan and parchment paper. Repeat with second brownie layer. Place racks with brownie layers in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, measure 1 tablespoon of the pudding mix; reserve for garnish. In large bowl, beat remaining pudding mix, the milk and 1 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed about 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. Stir in nuts. Cover; refrigerate.

Carefully cut each brownie layer horizontally in half, using long serrated knife, to make 4 layers. On serving plate, place 1 brownie layer, cut side down. Spread 1/3 of the mousse (3/4 cup) evenly to edge of brownie. Repeat layering twice, using 2 brownie layers (place cut sides down) and remaining mousse. Top with remaining brownie layer, cut side down. Refrigerate torte while making glaze.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/2 cup whipping cream over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until bubbles start to form at edge of saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir constantly until smooth. Stir in vanilla and corn syrup; let stand 10 minutes. Stir glaze; spoon over top of torte, allowing some to run down side. Return torte to refrigerator while making garnish.

In medium bowl, beat 1/2 cup whipping cream, the powdered sugar and reserved 1 tablespoon pudding mix on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon mixture into decorating bag fitted with star tip and pipe rosettes on top of torte, or spoon dollops of mixture on torte. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Cover and refrigerate any remaining torte.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This blog is at a temporary stand still because, even though I have completed several dessert recipes, and taken pictures of them, I've been too damn lazy to post anything about them. Please stand by.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Making your own pudding is so easy, that if more people took the time to do, they would never buy pudding from their local mega mart again, and Jell-o's stock would plummet. But..... even though this particular recipe is easy, I feel the flavor needs to be tweaked a little. If you're into dark chocolate, you're going to love this pudding. Me, not so much. I know that dark chocolate is good for you, and that it's very hip to be into dark chocolate right now. But, I really don't give a shit, because I like milk chocolate. Give me the creamy, full sugar blast of milk chocolate anytime. And if saying that makes me sound less mature,and like less of a foodie, then so be it. I also have another food confession. When it comes to pudding, I actually LIKE the skin that forms on the top. Yep, I'm a weirdo, but don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

Let's talk about pudding for a minute. If you're a Generation X'er like me, then most of your pudding memories consist of Jell-o instant pudding that your mother threw together and poured into drinking glasses for consumption after dinner. Or, if your family was well off, you had pudding packs in the school lunch your mom packed for you. So there's a chance that many of us only have memories of pudding that originated from a powdered mix, which is really a shame. Because pudding you make yourself has a bold, chocolatey taste that can never be matched by anything that is shilled by Mr. Bill Cosby. If you have an extra 30 minutes on your hands, making your own pudding is completely worth it. I recommend everyone take time to smell the chocolate in life.


The picture turned out pretty well huh? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

If you've read this blog before you know that I don't really get excited about pie. I think it's overrated. Especially that All-American behemoth, the apple pie. Often apple pies are made with canned, apple pie filling, meaning that you really can't tell one person's pie from another. Or you get an apple pie that is made from scratch where the crust and apples are not only overly mushy, but there is a substantial gap between where the top layer of crust ends and the filling actually begins. Even though I don't care for pie, I do care for my Father-In-Law who happens to like apple pie, and because of that caring I set out to put together my own apple pie recipe that would live up to my high dessert standards.

I've always tinkered with pre-existing recipes, and on a few occasions I've made up my own recipes, so this wasn't going to be that hard for me.

It calls for eight large apples ( 2 each Granny Smith, Braeburn, Gala and Golden Delicious). You then peel core and dice the apples. Then toss the apples with about 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 Tbs. of salt and then let the apples sit in a collander over an empty bowl that the juices can run off into.Let the apples drain for approximately one hour. Take the drained apple juice in the drainage bowl and whisk it together with two Tbs of cornstarch. Put your diced apples into a large bowl and then toss the apples with two Tbs. granulated sugar, and two Tbs. dark brown sugar. Add one cup crushed pecans, and two tsps. finely diced fresh ginger. Add apple juice and corn starch mixture to your apple mixture, stirring until mixture coats apples. Pour mixture into a store bought, bottom pie crust, level out apple mixture, and top with second pie crust. Bake at 375 for one hour.

This pie was freaking fantastic! I don't remember the last time I was so proud of something that I had made, and it had very little sugar in it to boot. You could really taste the apples, and the fresh ginger gave it a little something special. I rock.

It turned out so well the first time I made it, that I decided to make it a second time for my FIL's birthday barbecue last weekend. It was even better on the second try.

Up next....homemade chocolate pudding, and believe it or not, another pie. Cherry this time ( far superior to apple, in my opinion).

For those of you that have been asking, the hole that I previously posted pictures of has been filled in. Wanna see? Here it is.....
Muuuuuuch better. With the hole filled in, my life is back to normal, and I no longer want to burst into tears when I look at my back yard. Also, let me say that Mr. Icequeen and his dad tackled this grand project entirely on their own and did an amazing job. My husband is truly something special and I feel that he can really do anything that he becomes determined to do. Can I get a round of applause for my better half?

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I was trying to come up with some lame excuse as to why I haven't posted for a few weeks. It was going to go something like...."Well it's hard to bake when your back yard looks like this!"

Then I realized that, since the oven isn't actually inside that monsterous hole, it's not a valid excuse. And then I thought about telling you that I've been touring some exotic locale, and that baking is now for the Commoners, and I now consider myself above all that. Lame. Then, I thought I should just come clean. I really have been baking, but I either forget to take pictures, or I don't have anything interesting to say about the dish I've made. Sometimes I can't think of anything more creative to say about a recipe than "It's good."And that can make for a short, boring entry.

I've been on vacation this week, and I've gotten a lot done. It's been moderately relaxing and of course, the baking has been nice. And the Jeweled Coconut drops are all kinds of delicious. You may have noticed that I'm doing more recipes that appeal to my pallette, and those of you who read this blog regularly know that I am passionate about coconut. For those of you born without the "coconut gene", you may want to stop reading now.

These cookies are chewy, fruity, filling and versatile.
The recipe calls for seedless raspberry jam to be used as the topping. I did make some of them using raspberry jam, but it had seeds (seedless is overrated), and since I had some peach preserves, and some cherry preserves I made a few using each one of those flavors. Why yes, we are jelly freaks at my house. We often have two to three different jelly and jam flavors in the fridge. Mostly because Mr. Icequeen has the soul of a ten year old boy, and I think he could eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day and not become sick of them. Wait. Does that make me a pedophile?

I really liked the version using the cherry preserves, and the peach wasn't too bad.

What some of you may not know is that most of the stuff that I bake for this blog doesn't stick around my home. It goes....away. We sample the final product and then the rest is given to family, friends, co-workers, etc. If I ate all of the stuff that I bake, in its entirety, then the airlines would require that I buy an extra seat when I fly. These particular cookies were given to Mr. Icequeen's co-worker, and she was generous enough to share the cookies with others in her office. The drops were a big hit. One person even said that they were "Like sex in your mouth". Hmmmm. I'm not so sure. They're good, but they're not orgasmic.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Candy, candy, candy..I can't let you go. Are you surprised? I'm a little surprised myself. I've never been much of a candy maker, but the past couple of Christmases I've tried to step outside my comfort zone and make more candies. Usually with pretty good results. Some of you may already know that BFMHTY, doesn't contain any candy recipes. I confess, I had to get away from the cookbook for a bit. I plan on finishing that part of this project, but I don't like limiting my sugary adventures to just one set of recipes. Sooooo, why not some heart-stoppingly sweet, turtle-like candies? Why not indeed.

These candies literally took about thirty minutes to throw together, that includes set up time on the chocolate. I used chocolate bark, so that I wouldn't have to go to all the trouble of tempering chocolate (tempering is a bitch of a task, and one of the reasons I don't enjoy candymaking much). After you melt the chocolate, you throw some nuts on top, and then cover with melted caramel (yum) and more melted chocolate.

The chocolate has a strong cocoa taste, which I like. The caramel has a little heavy cream added that really adds to the richness. Overall these were very good, but if I make them again, there definitely needs to be an addition to the recipe. See, these little patties are sickeningly sweet. The sugar hit was so strong that I couldn't even eat a whole piece, luckily, Mr. Icequeen was around to scoop up the scrap I left behind. I wish that the cashews had been saltier, to balance out the sweetness of the choclate and caramel. So, I recommend topping the clusters with a sprinkling of sea salt just as the chocolate is setting up. The salt on top would also help them to look more appealing.

I'm sure you could make these same candies using white instead of milk chocolate. But, why the hell would anyone want to do that? White chocolate is satan's breast milk! Blah. It's heresy! It's not even real chocolate. It's mockalate.

Personal Note: February marked five years since my last cancer treatment, and I visited my oncologist earlier this month and he gave me the all clear. I was told that once you're cancer free for five years (as I am) that in the medical community you're considered to be "cured". Yep, he said it just like that, with the air quotes and everything. I despise my oncologist. Now, I know what you're thinking..."That man saved your life. You shouldn't hate him". Many people treated me and took wonderful care of me, but he was not one of them. He was not the one who found my tumor, he did not conduct the chemo and radiation treatments. He primarily made the whole process less bearable with the way he runs his office. Plus, he has a huge God Complex. I'm not going to tell you who he is, but he has a life size portrait of himself in his waiting room. And I hope none of you are ever in the situation where you end up getting to see that portrait. The point that I'm actually trying to make is.... Yaaaaaaaay me! Thanks to the support of my family and friends I made it through the treatments and I feel great. Also, props to my gyno, who really did save my life (Dr. Heywood, you are the greatest!) Okay, enough of that crap, this ain't no Lifetime movie.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Spring has definitely sprung around here. That means home projects on the horizon, that's in addition to the tending of flower beds, prepping our garden for planting, mowing. But, I hope to get in plenty of baking in between other projects. So, don't worry my darlings, I will not abandon you just because the sun has decided to return.

The onset of warmer weather will also allow me to get to a several recipes that I had been putting off because the fruit needed to make them was out of season. Fall is my favorite season, and I don't even mind the gloom of winter. Because when you're as pale as a vampire*, but without all the sexiness, Summer, frankly, sucks. Things are different this year though, I don't know if it's the happy pills or the fact that this past winter was just so damn cold, but I'm actually happy ( dont' get used to it) that the warmer weather is here.

The blondies featured here are delicious. Moist and most importantly, sweet. This recipe finally had enough sugar in it to satisfy my sweet tooth. The subtlety of the sweetness in some of the previous recipes were making me want to hang this project up, or move onto a different cookbook. After making the blondies, I'm glad that I stuck it out. The batter is nothing spectacular, but the addition of the bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch chips, coconut (all hail!), and I snuck in some milk chocolate chips too, make for a combination that sings in your food hole.

Sometimes I judge how good a recipe is by how many people ask for the recipe after they've tasted the end result. This one is definitely a winner.

*Fictional vampires are supposed to scare the hell out of you and make you afraid to go to sleep at night. They are not supposed to make you swoon and wish you were a bloodsucker yourself, or wish you had a vampire boyfriend. I'm not completely anti-Twilight/True Blood/Vampire Diaries, etc., mind you,  I do think that any franchise, no matter how cheesy, is a good thing if it gets people to read who otherwise wouldn't dream of cracking open a book for pleasure. Rant complete. Icequeen out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Hmmmm. This post is going to be a short one, because there isn't anything too exciting to say about these cookies, except that they are very chocolatey and have a somewhat cakey texture going for them. They're best described as a rich, sweet chocolate cookie with some oats thrown in for texture. I feel like the addition of the oats made the cookies dry and didn't really add anything worthwhile to an already dull recipe. There are better chocolate cookie recipes out there, so I say avoid this one.

Side Note: Pictures to be posted tonight.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Okay, Okay. I know that the picture sucks. But I'm tired, so there.

I'm starting to think that all the cake recipes in this cookbook are just variations of the same cake. The flour, sugar, butter (always two sticks, MY GAWD) and egg quantities are always the same. The only change for this particualar cake is that it calls for only light brown sugar, no granulated sugar, or for my British fan club, caster sugar.

This is more of a fruit cake, but in a good way, and the brown sugar really just takes a back seat to the pears, and the raisins and/or prunes you mix into the batter. I opted for prunes. What?! Prunes are delicious, and I feel they get a bad rap in the fruit world. The cake turned out really moist, and I didn't even bother adding the glaze I had planned on. I'm getting a little too "glaze happy" with my desserts lately anyway, so it's just as well.

The baking time on this recipe was actually spot on, at 55 minutes. I think Mr. Icequeen liked this one a little more than me. Don't get me wrong, it was good, it just wasn't anything you couldn't find at your local church social, or weekly meeting of a cake cult (please see previous posts). I do see where you could swap out the pears and/or raisins for dried cherries or even dried cranberries and this would make for a passable dish. I give it a two out of four licks of the bowl.


I haven't been posting many finished recipes lately because I've been a little depressed and I haven't felt much like baking, but... I'm back bitches. And I must say this is a good recipe to start off my comeback with.

These little cookies are easy to make ( I know that I say that about most of the recipes I post, but it's true).
It's really just a basic chocolate chip cookie dough, without the chips and the addition of 3/4 c. of dulce de leche. Then after baking, you fill the centers with the lefter over dulce. The cookies are soft and tasty and the filling is creamy and delicious without being too sweet. I think this is a cookie that kids would really enjoy too because it's so unfussy and easy to eat and what kid doesn't love a cookie sandwich? One with caramel no less? I mean, I would eat my old sneakers if they were slathered in caramel.

Dulce De Leche Duos

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup store-bought dulce de leche, plus more for filling

3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Getting ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed until soft. Add the Dulce de Leche and both sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks a little curddled, it will smooth out when the flour mixture is added. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.

Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets, using a heaping teaspoon of dough for each cookie and leaving 2 inches between them.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be honey brown with a light sugar crust, but they will be soft, so remove the sheets from the oven but don't touch the cookies for another minute or two. Then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure you cool the baking sheets before spooning the dough onto them.

When the cookies are completely cool, spread the flat bottoms of half the cookies with a small amount of dulce de leche, and sandwich with the flat sides of the remaining cookies

Sunday, February 14, 2010


We all know that Facebook is nothing but social masturbation anyway, but I cannot stress enough that NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR FARMVILLE UPDATES! No one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Don't be fooled by the look of these cookies. I know that they're ugly, but they taste really good. They have a moist crumb and the ginger flavor stands out without overwhelming the rest of the flavors. I'm sure that I'm a little biased on this one because carrot cake is one of my favorite cake flavors and these are really just carrot cakes in cookie form.

As usual, this was a really simple recipe that doesn't take much time to throw together. It has your usual carrot cake ingredients, you know, carrots, raisins ( I used golden), coconut (hail the coconut coven) and nuts. It called for pecans instead of walnuts, which is a little unusual, but the oddest thing about this recipe is that there's no cinnamon in it, I'm guessing that that's because the recipe is designed to make ginger the starring spice of this show. I didn't miss the cinnamon at all, but there was one thing that could have really amped this cookie up... a very light schmear of cream cheese frosting on the top. Those who know me know that I abhor excessive frosting, especially the supermarket bakery type, royal frosting. But I could see myself with a tub of the white stuff, dipping each cookie into it, before popping it into my mouth, like the fat American that I am.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This recipe was chosen specifically with my father-in-law in mind. You see, my FIL is a diabetic, and he loves apples. Even as a non-diabetic, I know that the store bought desserts that are available to diabetics are slim on variety and extremely slim on flavor, because I've sampled a few in my attempts to cut back on sugar in my diet. My attempts have rarely worked, in part because the creators of these store bought creations seem to think of "tasty" as an afterthought. The other reason is because sugar and I have a long and torrid love affair that will never truly end, because I'm faithful to my vices.

Back to my FIL. He says that "there needs to be more sugar free food...that tastes good!" So my goal was to modify this apple cake into something that he could enjoy without the guilt of being bad. As I said, he loves apples, and in addition to apples the cake calls for a lot of spices that would help out in giving this sugar free recipe extra flavor that would be needed to compensate for the Splenda that I would be substituting (blah!).

The cake turned out well, and had a strong apple-y flavor. The middle was moist but the outer edge was slightly dry. Here is another recipe in this book where the cooking time is way off. And no, I didn't use the convection setting on the oven this time. You're supposed to bake the cake for 55-65 minutes and check for doneness. I baked for 35 minutes and it was definitely ready to be pulled from the oven. If I had baked it for the full amount of time it would have become a cinder.

I would definitely like to try making the full sugar version of this cake, and I think it would be great to take to a pot luck occasion. The spices (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) appeal to a wide audience, and really makes this cake scream "autumn". The cookbook gives you a glaze recipe that is optional, but I prefer a tasty cake like this to be served naked. Mmmmm nakedness.

A side note about this picture. I've been trying really hard to make improvements to my food photography, but I think it may be a lost cause. So if you come to this sight for the pictures...too bad. I can't be good at everything, I'm an awesome baker, isn't that enough for you?

Moist Double Apple Bundt Cake

■2 cups of flour

■2 tsp baking powder

■1/2 tsp baking soda

■1 tsp cinnamon

■1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (seriously, grate your own…it is easy and it makes a huge difference in flavor)

■1/4 tsp cloves

■1/4 tsp salt

■10 tbs butter at room temperature

■3/4 cup brown sugar

■3/4 cup sugar

■2 eggs at room temperature

■1 tsp maple flavoring

■1 cup apple butter

■2 apples grated – don’t peel if they are organic

■1 cup pecans, chopped

■1 cup dried cranberries

1.Preheat oven to 350F

2.Grease and flour a bundt cake pan

3.Sift the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside

4.Beat the butters and sugar at medium speed about 3 minutes.

5.Add the eggs, one at a time beating for a minute or two after each addition

6.Add the flavoring and switch mixer speed to low

7.Spoon in the apple butter slowly, mixing all the while

8.Add in the grated apple

9.Still on low mix in the sifted dry ingredients mixing only until blended

10.Fold in the pecans and cranberries carefully.

11.Spoon into bundt pan, smooth the top and back for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted between the metal tube and the outside edge comes away clean. Time will depend on moisture content of the apples. My cake took 70 minutes to bake

12.Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out and finish cooling completely

13.Wrap tightly and hold overnight

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Coconut is another one of those foods that people seem to always have strong feelings about, you either love it or hate it. So many people I know despise coconut, so when I find someone else that loves it as much as I do, I can't help but feel like I've found a kindered spirit. I know that comes off as a little dramatic, but you get the picture. I was really looking forward to making this recipe and then sending most of the cakes off to one of my sisters in the "coven of the coconut".
So it's too bad that they turned tasting like the box that I had planned to ship them in. Some of the flaws in these cakes were my fault, but most of them weren't. First they turned out dry, and nothing makes me snub my nose at a cake more quickly than dryness. The dryness problem is all on me though. We purchased a new stove, with a cool new convection oven (love it). With the convection feature, things bake more evenly and most importantly more quickly. That was two years ago, and I'm still trying to perfect the art of baking time modification for each new recipe. If I had just taken these cakes out of the oven five minutes earlier, I have no doubt they would have been moist or, at least, moister. Ugh.

The cakes weren't overly sweet, and that was a plus, but if you're looking for a strong coconut flavor, don't bother with these. The strongest flavor to be found were the eggs. The recipe calls for four of them, and the egginess (is that even a word?) is unignorable.

The cake is supposed to be baked using a bundt or kugelhopf pan, but I decided it would be easier to ship them if I made mini loaves, so even though they tasted crappy, they looked cute. And since I had leftover coconut milk, and toasted coconut, I whipped up a quick glaze of the milk, and powdered sugar, and then topped the glaze with leftover coconut. The glaze turned out better than the cakes did. A dollop of whipped cream on the side may have saved the dryness, but not the lack of coconut flavor that I was really hoping for.

I'm not saying that this isn't a good recipe, I just hope that someone else will have better luck with it than I did. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find an Almond Joy bar that I can cry into. Coconut lovers of the world unite!

Afternote: I shipped these cakes to my friend Crystal. She and her five year old loved them, and didn't find them to be dry at all. Everything is subjective.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I haven't been posting as often as I usually do. Work has been more stressful than usual and I've felt no desire to do much baking. Hopefully, that's about to change.

These corns muffins were a last minute side addition to the clam chowder I was already making. This recipe would usually make a dozen muffins, but I decided to cut the recipe in have since it was just me and Mr. Icequeen having dinner together. Plus the recipe calls for an entire stick of butter and after the last two recipes I felt like it would be best to cut back on my butter intake.

I've spruced up muffin mixes before with a bit of frozen corn here, and some chopped jalepenos there and I've been happy with the results. This recipe is slightly more time consuming than that, but still relatively quick and easy.

As you can see,the muffins did turn out to be colorful and tasted very good. The chili powder adds a nice, smoky element to the overall flavor.

Makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg yolk

¼ cup corn kernels (add up to three tablespoons more if you’d like), fresh, frozen or canned (in which case, they should be drained and patted dry)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-sized muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and egg yolk together until well blended.

4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully each muffin from its mold.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hallelujah and Pass the DSL

As most of you know the East Coast experienced a severe snowstorm on 12/19/09. Lots of power and phone outages followed. We were some of the lucky ones that only spent about 16 hours without electricity but we did spend eighteen days without landline phone service, which means I spent eighteen days without access to the internet from home. Believe it or not, I would have been okay with this if our local phone company hadn't continually lied to us about when our phone service would be restored. The customer service reps at Verizon are a bunch of fucktards, 'nuff said.

Friday, January 1, 2010


In doing this project I decided in advance that I should try to stay stick as closely as I possiby could to the cookbook's original recipe. I have it in my head that if you tinker around with a recipe too much, it then becomes your recipe, not the recipe put forth by the cookbook author. But with these two recipes I have to admit to a little cheating, and I don't think that by cutting a few small corners that the overall result suffered any.

Both of these recipes call for the baker to make a pie crust, with each crust recipe listed on a page seperate from the pie/tart recipe. Now, pie crust is a subject that many at home bakers feel strongly about. Actually I've met a few of these bakers whose fervor about pie crust "authenticity" is of the type usually reserved for book burnings or cult meetings.On a side note, if I liked pie more, I'd definitely start my own pie cult or "Church of the Heavenly Pie", maybe I'll start my own cake cult instead. If you see me in a Wal-Mart parking lot putting fliers on windshields, asking people to be enlightened by the power of the CC, you'll know my dream has come true.

In the baking world so many feel that there is no substitute for a homemade crust, and that they're easy to make, blah, blah, blah. I've made a few crusts from scratch, and yes, they are easy to make, but all the crusts I have ever made taste the same as the pre-made, roll out type that I could have purchased from the grocery store instead. So I ask you, what is the point of making that myself, when I can just buy it? I know that I'll get comments that say something along the lines of "you just haven't tasted my (wife's, grandmother's, great aunt's or cousin's dog's) pie crust recipe or you wouldn't feel that way". And you might be right, maybe their recipe could be the magical pie crust that changes my mind, but don't hold your breath.

Since the DH and I were invited to the in-laws for Christmas dinner, I volunteered to bring dessert and was happy to be able to knock out two recipes in one weekend.

First the Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. This pie is very easy to make, and is perfect for those who cannot choose between having pumpkin pie or pecan pie, since this recipe is a combination of both. Half of the ingredients go into a food processor for blending (the pumpkin portion of the pie) and the other half go into a bowl for blending (the pecan pie parts). I did make a substitution in the pumpkin portion. The recipe calls for dark rum, and I didn't have any handy. I didn't want to buy a bottle of rum, because I knew that it would just sit around for a year or two, until another recipe called for it. So, I added rum extract instead. The recipe calls for two teaspoons of the rum, so I went with two teaspoons of the extract instead. The Darling Husband thought that the flavor of the extract was a little too strong and overwhelmed the rest of the pie, but I didn't notice. What I did notice is that the pie turned out a little runny. I made the pie on Christmas morning, and it had about six hours to cool before it was served. It had been baked thoroughly so I know that it wasn't underdone. I would recommend baking this one the day before if possible and refrigerating it overnight, because a more firm texture would have made this a fantastic pie.

The lemon cream tart is not as extraordinary as the moniker claims. It is somewhat easy to make too, but there is a time where you'll need an instant read thermometer and some strong biceps, to be able to pull the recipe off. The crust for this one was blind baked in a tart pan (very pretty), and then you prepare lemon filling and chill. You'll need to zest some lemons, squeeze the juice from said lemons, and then add sugar to the zest only, and then work it with your hands until the sugar becomes "moist and fragrant", that part was kind of fun. You then add the freshly squeezed juice, and eggs to this mixture and whip it.

Then comes the upper body workout. All of the items you just whisked together go into a pot, onto the stove until it reaches 180 degress per your instant read thermometer, whisking the entire time.This can take up to ten minutes, according to the book. It took much longer than that. The DH and I took turns whisking and I still felt as if my arm was going to fall off!

The mix is then strained into a blender, you blend while adding room temperature butter ( 2 sticks worth! Egads.) and then spoon it into your crust.

I added a little raspberry dessert filling to the top of this just to cut the intense lemon flavor a little. This tart looks good, but the taste was just alright. A few people at Christmas diner seemed to really enjoy it, but the DH and I had a few problems with it. He thought there was a strong eggy taste, and I say there was a strong buttery aftertaste, but not in a good way.

The Twofer Pie is one that I would definitely make again. I'm glad I had the experience of making the lemon tart, but I wouldn't do it again unless someone whom I really like was to request it.