Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Candy Cane Brownie Lollipops

For my first post in quite a while, I had hoped to post a recipe for French macarons; my long absence from this blog was due to the fact that Alan and I were living in France for the fall (check out my daily blog from our time there at letsbefranc.blogspot.com) and I thought making something French would be appropriate. But while my attempted macarons tasted good, they were definitely not right. So I will  have to try again, but in the mean time I thought I'd share one of my favorite fancy-but-easy Christmas desserts. I got this recipe at a Pampered Chef party a few years ago. I find that not everyone (ahem, Alan...) likes peppermint, so it might be fun to think of an alternate coating like just sprinkles, or even leave some plain. But for those of us who like peppermint, this is the ultimate candy cane expereince!

Candy Cane Brownie Lollipops
makes 24

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When the moon hits your eye like a pig pizza pie...

When you try this pizza you too will sing "That's amore!" Lol : ) But seriously, you are going to be in love with this easy, awesome, home-made pizza! The dough recipe makes enough for three 12" pizzas (which make 6 slices each, of which I can eat only two! I ate three the first time we made this because it was SO GOOD and went around feeling fat the rest of the evening - but remembering how good it tasted made it worth it...). I'll list the toppings I did, but you can, of course, do whatever you like, keeping in mind all your toppings together should total around 2 cups. Also note that the dough is easiest to roll out when fresh (it will spring back on itself more after being in the fridge). Alan says he is going to learn to toss the dough like the guy in the Visa commercial, but I have yet to see it : )

Light whole wheat crust
enough for three 12" pizzas- adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Sunday, August 15, 2010

challah bread + my awesome hubby = amazing french toast!

So I have been baking up an artisan bread storm since my last post - it's so much fun! Last night I mixed up a batch of challah bread dough from the same book and used about a third of it to make a gorgeous-looking loaf that Alan promised to make into french toast this morning. It was awesome, but don't be fooled by the picture - I only ate 2 of those pieces! Alan's trick with french toast is to pour the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture into a cookie sheet (with a lip) and let the pieces sit for a little bit on each side so that they soak it up a little more than if you just dipped the pieces.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If you love bread, you have to try this!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day is a book anyone who likes to bake bread should own - especially if you have never baked bread before or been intimidated by the steps, kneading, and long amount of time needed.  They have another book on with healthy recipes, and one on the way about pizza and flatbreads. I was introduced to the books (and the bread!) by my cousin Seth and his wife Cherie, and I knew that this was something I wanted to make too! You'll need just a few things before you start:
  1. A 5 qt (20 cups) tupperware with a lid (although I only had a 4 qt one and it didn't overflow mine with this recipe)
  2. A long-handled spoon, preferably wooden
  3. Parchment paper
  4. A baking stone (you can use a cookie sheet but it changes the crust a little)
  5. A broiler pan or cookie sheet with a lip
Basically, you will just dump the 4 ingredients (water, salt, yeast, and flour) into the tupperware, mix with the spoon, let rest for a few hours (or over night in the fridge like I did), pull out a hunk of dough and let it rise on the counter for about 40 minutes, and then bake for about 30 minutes. And that's it! The dough lasts in the fridge for 14 days, so you can just keep pulling out as much as you want and baking it when you need it. I am going to send you over to their website for the full basic recipe with photos. The books have many variations as well as recipes for things to make to go with the different breads. I love it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elizabeth's Cake

A trip to my Grandma Luss' is never quite the same unless we have Elizabeth's cake - a kind of pound cake with an orange glaze that always sat on the counter under a red-speckled metal cake-cover just begging for dinner to be over and Grandpa to get the vanilla ice cream from the freezer. I helped Grandma make the cake many times, but I never knew where the recipe came from until just recently. When my grandmother was a student teacher in Syracuse, New York, part of her time was spent working with minority students. They loved her, unlike some of the other student teachers that came through their school. Her supervisor was an African-American lady named Elizabeth, and she gave this recipe to my grandmother.

My grandma is 87 years old now, and not doing very well. I visited her recently and waded through her stacks of recipes (and boy does she have a lot!) to find this one. Unfortunately, it was a bit cryptic, and so while I am going to post the recipe now I have to say that it did not come out quite right when I made it this time. For one, it needs to bake longer, or at a higher temperature. Second, there was nothing written down at all for the glaze, and while I did what I remembered, I think I'll use slightly less orange juice and more powdered sugar next time. I've included both these updates below, but you might have to experiment :) However, it still tastes wonderful, especially with some vanilla ice cream. Here's to Grandma's Elizabeth's Cake!

Elizabeth's Cake
makes about 20 slices

Monday, July 19, 2010

Penne Pasta Pie

Pasta is such a versatile food, but I find it is so often served in the same way over and over again. This recipe adds a new twist in combining pasta with a quiche-like filling to create a delicious pie entrée. You can also make it up to 2 days in advance, and any leftovers you have reheat wonderfully, making it great for lunch the next day! (Alan also noted for the non-vegetarians out there that it would be good with chicken added to it as well.)

Penne, Broccoli, and Mozzarella Pie
serves 6

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I first made this recipe a few months ago for a friend's lingerie party. I thought that red velvet seemed appropriate for the occasion, but I honestly couldn't remember what red velvet cake tasted like! My mother doesn't really like it, and the other people I asked all seemed ambivalent on the subject - so of course I had to give it a try! I followed the Martha Stewart's directions that time, making Mini Heart-Shaped Cakes so each guest had their own little cake. Everyone liked them! (Or at least that's what they said.... : ) But Alan, who doesn't like cake very much, also said he like it! So I decided to make the recipe again, with a slight variation.

The problem when I make desserts is there are only two of us to eat it all and no co-workers at the moment on which to fob of the extras. So I usually halve every recipe. Cakes are a little harder though, because I still wanted to layer the cake. Since this recipe was meant to be baked thin to make the individual cakes, I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9x13. Then I cut two 5.5" squares and ended up with a cute square cake that Alan and I can eat before it goes bad (without eating to much)!

Red Velvet Cake with Speckled Cinnamon Frosting and Blueberries
makes one small layer cake (about 6 slices)