Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Desserts

Coffee Caramel Sauce

Coffee Caramel Sauce

The deep golden amber color just hints at the flavors tucked inside – a thick and creamy caramel sauce with gorgeous notes of coffee! An absolutely luscious dessert topping!

This is another recipe I found in my Mom’s collection dating back to the early 1960s. It differs from more traditional caramel sauce recipes. Not only does it include the addition of coffee but it also uses both white and brown sugars plus light corn syrup. But it doesn’t skip that creamy factor from butter and heavy cream!

The subtle and undeniable flavor of coffee comes together in duplicate forms – fresh brewed espresso and a tad of pure coffee extract. Stir in pure vanilla extract to deepen those flavors and you’ve got one scrumptious sauce.

A few tools and tips come in handy when you’re making a caramel sauce. A reliable candy thermometer is key to the right consistency of caramel sauce and candies. You also want a heavy saucepan and one that is deep enough to restrain any bubbling up or spatters while the sauce cooks.

Resist the urge to stir frequently. Only a few stirs to mix the ingredients together then leave it alone and let it do its thing. Too much stirring will cause the sugar to crystalize. And once the sugars have dissolved you can swirl the pan but do not stir – not even once!

As soon as the sauce hits the right temperature pour in the cold cream to stop the sauce from cooking. Having everything measured, ready to add and within arms’ reach makes this an easier task.

Making caramel sauce can be temperamental. It doesn’t take much of your time but it will want your undivided attention! You will be greatly rewarded!

Coffee Caramel Sauce

2/3 cup light corn syrup

¼ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure coffee extract*

2 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee

Pour the corn syrup into a small deep saucepan. Add the both of the sugars and the butter.

Using a spatula, pull the sugar into the center of the pan mixing into the corn syrup. You want to avoid the sugars cooking and crystalizing against the side of the pan.

Place the pan over medium heat and allow the sugar to melt into the syrup and butter, stirring only a few times, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once the sugar has completely dissolved do not stir but allow the caramel sauce to cook to a soft-ball stage, 236-degrees, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour in the heavy cream, stirring to mix into the caramel sauce.

Blend in the vanilla and coffee extracts along with the espresso.

Serve warm over ice cream, pound cake, angel food cake, cream puffs…. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.

Nielsen-Massey makes beautiful extracts, including a coffee extract. In a pinch you can use an equal amount of espresso powder, which can be found in the coffee aisle of most food markets. Makes about 2 cups of coffee caramel sauce.

Coffee Caramel Sauce, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 17, 2019
: Makes about 2 cups of coffee caramel sauce.

The deep golden amber color just hints at the flavors tucked inside - a thick and creamy caramel sauce with gorgeous notes of coffee! An absolutely luscious dessert topping!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure coffee extract*
  • 2 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the corn syrup into a small deep saucepan. Add the both of the sugars and the butter.
  • Step 2 Using a spatula, pull the sugar into the center of the pan mixing into the corn syrup. You want to avoid the sugars cooking and crystalizing against the side of the pan.
  • Step 3 Place the pan over medium heat and allow the sugar to melt into the syrup and butter, stirring only a few times, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step 4 Once the sugar has completely dissolved do not stir but allow the caramel sauce to cook to a soft-ball stage, 236-degrees, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 5 Remove from the heat and pour in the heavy cream, stirring to mix into the caramel sauce.
  • Step 6 Blend in the vanilla and coffee extracts along with the espresso.
  • Step 7 Serve warm over ice cream, pound cake, angel food cake, cream puffs…. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.
  • Step 8 Nielsen-Massey makes beautiful extracts, including a coffee extract. In a pinch you can use an equal amount of espresso powder, which can be found in the coffee aisle of most food markets.
Toasted Coconut Smoothie

Toasted Coconut Smoothie

Rich, thick and full of coconut flavor – this is one luscious way to sip an afternoon away!

Just imagine if you scooped the custard out of a coconut cream pie then blended it into a drink. This might be what it would taste like!

After recently making coconut waffles I just happened to have extra toasted coconut on hand. So I thought it might be fun to whip up a smoothie with this tropical flavor.

This drink deeply resembles a milkshake, but made without using any ice cream. Instead, very ripe, frozen bananas provide the creaminess of ice cream and the chill that ice normally provides. Don’t toss out overly ripe bananas – instead peel them and drop them into a freezer bag. They’re perfect for smoothies and for baking. The other key ingredients in this beverage are coconut milk and crème of coconut – typically on hand for a piña colada!

And with the popularity of non-dairy “milk” products, coconut milk is easy to find and can be kept on the shelf in your pantry.

It’s a simple drink to make, with a small number of ingredients but the result is oh, so delicious!

Toasted Coconut Smoothie

½ cup grated coconut, plus extra for garnish

2 cups coconut milk

½ cup crème of coconut

5 frozen bananas

Spread the grated coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Place the coconut in a 400-degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the coconut is toasted and golden in color. Stir every 4 minutes so the coconut is evenly toasted.

Pour the coconut milk and the crème of coconut into a blender then add the toasted coconut.

Add the frozen bananas and process, starting on low for about 10 to 20 seconds.

Raise the speed to high and process until the bananas are blended into the drink, about 30 to 45 seconds.

Pour the coconut smoothie into tall glasses and sprinkle with extra toasted coconut.

Makes four 8-ounce drinks.

Toasted Coconut Smoothie, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 13, 2019
: Makes four 8-ounces servings.

Just imagine if you scooped out the custard of a coconut cream pie and blended it into a drink. This might be what it would taste like!

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup grated coconut, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • ½ cup crème of coconut
  • 5 frozen bananas
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the grated coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Place the coconut in a 400-degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the coconut is toasted and golden in color. Stir every 4 minutes so the coconut is evenly toasted.
  • Step 2 Pour the coconut milk and the crème of coconut into a blender then add the toasted coconut.
  • Step 3 Add the frozen bananas and process, starting on low for about 10 to 20 seconds. Raise the speed to high and process until the bananas are blended into the drink, about 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Step 4 Pour the coconut smoothie into tall glasses and sprinkle with extra toasted coconut.
Chewy Chocolate Cookie Bites

Chewy Chocolate Cookie Bites

We’re not sure if this is really a cookie or some type of praline or nougat. It’s a scrumptious little treat with dark chocolate notes in what seems to be a hybrid of a brownie, a cookie and candy. It certainly looks like a cookie but there’s a little fluff in the middle that you expect from a brownie. Plus there’s chewy bite like a soft praline or nougat. Who really knows what category this sweet falls into, but one thing is for sure they’re hard to resist!

This is a recipe from Mom’s collection with the addition of toasted pecans. These little cookies magically come together by pulling out some pantry staples, pulverizing one of them and then mixing them all together.

Start with melted bars of unsweetened chocolate stirred into sweetened condensed milk – that creamy nectar of goodness Mom always had on hand.

Stir in crushed vanilla wafers…

then toss in toasted pecans and pure vanilla extract.

It’s a quick mix then they’re off to the oven. In no time at all you’ve got delectable little goodies!

Who cares what they are, just enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate Cookie Bites

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounce can

1-1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers, about 3 cups wafers

1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe dish, using medium power and stirring after 30-second intervals. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let the chocolate melt completely or it could scorch. Stir any pieces that are not completely melted into the warm melted chocolate until the chocolate is smooth.

Mix the melted chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk and the crushed vanilla wafers.

Toss the chopped pecans with the flour and add to the chocolate and wafer mixture. Stir in the kosher salt and the vanilla extract.

Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Drop small rounds of cookie dough, about 1″ to 1-1/2″ onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2” between cookies.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are just set.

Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 4-dozen cookies.

Chewy Chocolate Cookie Bites, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 1, 2019
: Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.

We’re not really sure if this is really a cookie or some type of nougat. It’s full of dark chocolate notes and seems to be a cross between a brownie and a cookie with a chewy, candy like quality. Who really knows but one thing is for sure they’re hard to resist!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounce can
  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers, about 3 cups wafers
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe dish, using medium power and stirring after 30-second intervals. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let the chocolate melt completely or it will scorch. Stir any pieces that are not completely melted into the warm melted chocolate until the chocolate is smooth.
  • Step 2 Mix the melted chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk and the crushed vanilla wafers.
  • Step 3 Toss the chopped pecans with the flour and add to the chocolate and wafer mixture.
  • Step 4 Stir in the kosher salt and the vanilla extract.
  • Step 5 Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Step 6 Drop 1” rounds of cookie dough onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2” between cookies.
  • Step 7 Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are just set.
  • Step 8 Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Pineapple Orange Bavarian

Pineapple Orange Bavarian

Gorgeous flavors of pineapple and orange are entwined together then folded into a cloud of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese. A delicate crunch from toasted walnuts completes this beautiful vintage salad!

Bavarians are classic salads that can double as a dessert. My Grandmother’s table always featured one. There as multiple variations, many took advantage of flavored gelatin which brought “fruit” flavors to life but many, including this version uses unflavored gelatin. This is a recipe lifted from the pages of one of her cookbooks published in the 1930s.

It starts with crushed pineapple, oranges and a touch of lemon suspended in the cold gelatin.

Then it’s gently folded into a luscious combination of whipped mascarpone and cream. Layer in a bit of nuttiness with a handful of golden walnuts plus more bites of orange.

This is perfect for entertaining because you can make this a day ahead. The Bavarian actually benefits from a bit of time to chill allowing the flavors to come together.

Creamy with subtle bites of pineapple and orange – it’s a delectable addition to your spring menu!

Pineapple Orange Bavarian

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin, about 2-1/2 packets

½ cup water, room temperature

1 cup crushed pineapple, with juice, one 8-ounce can

1 cup orange juice

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon orange extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

½ cup mascarpone cheese

1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1 large navel orange chopped into small pieces, about 1 cup

Mix the gelatin with the water to soften.

Place the crushed pineapple and the orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the softened gelatin along with the sugar, lemon juice, orange extract and kosher salt. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely.

Let cool then chill until set, about 2 to 3 hours.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream on medium speed for about 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the mascarpone and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Remove the pineapple orange gelatin from the fridge and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the gelatin into smaller pieces.

Gently fold the gelatin into the whipped cream. Add the walnuts and the chopped orange.

Spoon the Bavarian into a serving bowl and chill for about 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serves 8.

Pineapple Orange Bavarian, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 19, 2019
: Serves 8.

Gorgeous flavors of pineapple and orange are entwined together then folded into a cloud of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese. A delicate crunch from toasted walnuts completes this beautiful vintage salad!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin, about 2-1/2 packets
  • ½ cup water, room temperature
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, with juice, one 8-ounce can
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 large navel orange chopped into small pieces, about 1 cup
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the gelatin with the water to soften.
  • Step 2 Place the crushed pineapple and the orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Step 3 Add the softened gelatin along with the sugar, lemon juice, orange extract and kosher salt. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely.
  • Step 4 Let cool then chill until set, about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Step 5 In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream on medium speed for about 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the mascarpone and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Step 6 Remove the pineapple orange gelatin from the fridge and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the gelatin into smaller pieces.
  • Step 7 Gently fold the gelatin into the whipped cream. Add the walnuts and the chopped orange.
  • Step 8 Spoon the Bavarian into a serving bowl and chill for about 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.
Lime Tartlets

Lime Tartlets

Start with crispy phyllo shells, follow with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs sprinkled across the bottom. Add a spoonful of tart and sweet creamy lime curd then top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. It’s a tiny bite that packs a punch of spring flavor!

Key lime pie is a favorite in our family and though you can’t always find key limes, the more commonly found Persian lime provides a beautiful bright tang perfect for these little tartlets. Lime curd is ridiculously easy to make in a Vitamix.

Egg yolks and sugar are combined with the juice and zest of fresh limes then butter for that creaminess you look for in a citrus curd.

The result is a rich custard-like dessert sauce that will amaze your taste buds!

This recipe for lime curd makes about three cups. And though you can use this delicious topping on pound cake or even ice cream, scooping it into these delightful little phyllo shells creates a bite size dessert that is a great addition to your Easter or springtime dessert tray.

These little shells made by Athens Foods are always in my freezer and if you follow us you’ve seen them pop up in our recipes. We discovered them a number of years ago and use them with both sweet and savory fillings. Crisp up the shells then layer the bottom with graham cracker crumbs.

Follow with the star attraction – that gorgeous lime curd. And for fun, gently cut graham crackers into tiny “sticks”.

Then top with a touch of whipped cream and finish garnishing with a small wedge of lime.

You can whip up the lime curd in advance and let it chill in the fridge overnight. Then shortly before it’s time for dessert, a quick assembly and you’re ready to wow your guests!

Lime Tartlets

For the lime curd:

6 extra-large eggs* yolks

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lime zest, about 5 limes, if it’s a little less than 2 tablespoons, no worries

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 5 limes – if it’s a little less than 1 cup no worries.

¾ cup butter, cut into pieces and set at room temperature for about 15 minutes

Add the egg yolks into the container of a Vitamix.

Pour in the sugar and the lime juice. Start blending on low speed then raise to high speed and blend for 1 minute.

Add the lime zest then with the blender on low speed remove the plug from the lid and add the pieces of butter.

Raise the speed to high and blend for 5 minutes. Pour the hot lime curd into a heatproof dish.

Place a sheet of food wrap directly on top of the lime curd then cover with another sheet. This prevents a film from developing on the lime curd.Let cool slightly then refrigerate until the curd is set, about 6 hours or overnight.

The lime curd can be served warm – if you can’t wait until it’s chilled!

For the lime tartlets:

1 package Athens phyllo shells

½ cup graham cracker crumbs

About 1 cup lime curd

1 to 2 whole graham crackers, cut into “sticks”

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

1 lime cut into thin slices, then into small wedges for garnish – optional

Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes at 350-degrees. Let the shells cool then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs across the bottom of the shells.

Add enough lime curd to just fill the shell. This can be filled about 2 to 3 hours in advance then garnish before serving.

Garnish with a graham cracker “stick”, add a dollop of whipped cream and a tiny wedge of lime. To keep the tartlets from sliding around on your serving platter spread a thin layer of graham cracker crumbs on it.

*The Vitamix will heat soups and sauces to a temperature between 170-degrees and 200-degrees, so be careful when you remove the lid. If you’re concerned about using raw eggs you can use pasteurized eggs – they can be found in the dairy case of your food market.

Makes about 2-2/3 cups of lime curd.

Lime Tartlets, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 12, 2019
: Makes 15 tartlets, about 2-2/3 cups lime curd.

Start with crispy phyllo shells, follow with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs sprinkled across the bottom. Add a spoonful of tart and sweet creamy lime curd then top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. It’s a tiny bite that packs a punch of spring flavor!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the lime curd:
  • 6 extra-large eggs* yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest, about 5 limes, if it’s a little less than 2 tablespoons, no worries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 5 limes – if it’s a little less than 1 cup no worries.
  • ¾ cup butter, cut into pieces and set at room temperature for about 15 minutes
  • For the lime tartlets:
  • 1 package Athens phyllo shells
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • About 1 cup lime curd
  • 1 to 2 whole graham crackers, cut into “sticks”, optional
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 lime cut into thin slices, then into small wedges for garnish - optional
Directions
  • Step 1 For the lime curd:
  • Step 2 Add the egg yolks into the container of a Vitamix.
  • Step 3 Pour in the sugar and the lime juice. Start blending on low speed then raise to high speed and blend for 1 minute.
  • Step 4 Add the lime zest then with the blender on low speed remove the plug from the lid and add the pieces of butter.
  • Step 5 Raise the speed to high and blend for 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Pour the hot lime curd into a heatproof dish. Place a sheet of food wrap directly on top of the lime curd then cover with another sheet. This prevents a film from developing on the lime curd. Let cool slightly then refrigerate until the curd is set, about 6 hours or overnight.
  • Step 7 The lime curd can be served warm – if you can’t wait until it’s chilled!
  • Step 8 For the lime tartlets:
  • Step 9 Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes at 350-degrees.
  • Step 10 Let the shells cool then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs across the bottom of the shells.
  • Step 11 Add enough lime curd to just fill the shell. This can be filled about 2 to 3 hours in advance then garnish before serving.
  • Step 12 Garnish with a graham cracker “stick”, add a dollop of whipped cream and a tiny wedge of lime. To keep the tartlets from sliding around on your serving platter spread a thin layer of graham cracker crumbs on it.
  • Step 13 *The Vitamix will heat soups and sauces to a temperature between 170-degrees and 200-degrees, so be careful when you remove the lid. If you’re concerned about using raw eggs you can use pasteurized eggs – they can be found in the dairy case of your food market.
Melba Sauce – Celebrate the Beauty of Raspberries!

Melba Sauce – Celebrate the Beauty of Raspberries!

Brilliant scarlet in color – this sauce is lightly sweet and uncomplicated!  The stars in this classic sauce are the raspberries. And they show that in a very beautiful way some of the best desserts are really quite simple.

Sauces can take a simple treat and elevate it to an elegant confection. This is a tasty example! Melba sauce – a vintage dessert sauce – is said to have been created to honor an Australian soprano, Nellie Melba in the late 1800s. It was served alongside peaches in a dish known as Peach Melba. But this gorgeous raspberry sauce is really wonderful flying solo!

It’s made with a short list of ingredients – raspberries, a touch of sugar, a little cornstarch to thicken and currant jelly for a vibrant shine.

It’s the perfect time for fresh ripe raspberries – they are in abundance in the markets. But you can also use frozen – or buy a large batch and flash freeze some for later!

The sauce comes together quickly. A quick cook until the cornstarch is clear and no longer cloudy in appearance.

The currant jelly melts into the berries producing a sauce that showcases the delectable red raspberry, almost glistening in appearance.

It’s splendid for topping a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream nestled in a delightful crispy phyllo shell. Simply marvelous!

Melba Sauce

3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

3 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ cup currant jelly

Toss the raspberries into a saucepan.

Add the sugar, cornstarch and the currant jelly.

Cook and stir over low heat until the juices of the raspberries release and the sugar and the cornstarch have dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until the sauce is no longer cloudy in appearance and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

The sauce will have a slightly cloudy appearance until the cornstarch has cooked sufficiently and begins to thicken.

If you are not a fan of seeds in raspberries you can strain the sauce through a sieve.

Melba sauce can be served over pound cake, angel food cake or vanilla ice cream. For an elegant but easy dessert place a scoop of ice cream inside a phyllo shell and top with Melba sauce. (Athens Foods make wonderful phyllo shells and can be found in the freezer section of most food markets.)

Makes about 3 cups of sauce.

Melba Sauce, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 29, 2019
: Makes about 3 cups.

A brilliant scarlet sauce - sweet and uncomplicated! The star in this classic sauce is the raspberry. They show in a very beautiful way that some of the best desserts can really quite simple.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup currant jelly
Directions
  • Step 1 Toss the raspberries into a saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch and the currant jelly.
  • Step 2 Cook and stir over low heat until the juices of the raspberries release and the sugar and the cornstarch have dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 3 Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until the sauce is no longer cloudy in appearance and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. The sauce will have a slightly cloudy appearance until the cornstarch has cooked sufficiently and begins to thicken.
  • Step 4 If you are not a fan of the seeds in raspberries you can strain the sauce through a sieve.
  • Step 5 Melba sauce can be served over pound cake, angel food cake or vanilla ice cream. For an elegant but easy dessert place a scoop of ice cream inside a phyllo shell and top with Melba sauce. (Athens Foods make wonderful phyllo shells and can be found in the freezer section of most food markets.)

 

 

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Layers of creamy bananas, sweet pineapple and toasted pecans with a wisp of cinnamon topped with a buttery cream cheese frosting – whipped with more toasted pecans. Hello spring!

Celebrating a birthday is always a great reason for cake! I’ve celebrated birthdays with two very dear friends for literally decades. This week marked another year of birthday celebrations. With a noted interest in hummingbirds by the guest of honor, baking the cake that shares its name seemed perfect!

Hummingbird Cake has become a classic Southern cake with a fairly modern yet tangled history. According to Southern Living – one of my favorite sources for all things Southern – they first ran the original recipe in the late 70s. It was submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins from North Carolina and is still one of their most requested recipes. But the credit for the first Hummingbird Cake takes many different twists and turns, from a classic tube cake minus that dreamy cream cheese frosting to a version whipped up in Jamaica. Regardless, it is a wonderful way to welcome the first blooms of spring!

It’s a quick and easy cake to pull together. The eggs add richness and the lovely fruity notes come from crushed pineapple and ripe bananas. Cinnamon and vanilla extract provide a nice highlight to the fruit with toasted pecans adding just the right nutty bite.

The cake is wonderful on it’s own but topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting – full of vanilla and more toasted pecans – it’s luscious!

You can bake this cake in three 8” cake pans, two 9” cake pans or a 9”x13” baking dish. But if you have a birthday celebration, cupcakes are a fun way to share this treat!

No matter the form you bake, Hummingbird Cake is sure to attract fans!

Hummingbird Cupcakes

For the cake:

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 extra-large eggs, room temperature

¾ cup vegetable or canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 small can crushed pineapple, with juice, 8-ounces

2 cups ripe mashed bananas, about 4 medium bananas

1 cup toasted chopped pecans

For the cream cheese frosting:

1 package cream cheese, 8-ounces, room temperature

¼ cup butter, room temperature

3-1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar, measured after sifting

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup toasted chopped pecans

To make the cake:

Put the flour, sugar, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend on medium speed until the dry ingredients are mixed together, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Lightly beat the eggs then add to the dry ingredients along with the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, crushed pineapple and any juice, the bananas and toasted pecans.

Mix on low speed just until the wet and dry ingredients are blended together, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Line 30 cups in muffins tins with paper liners. Fill the cups about 3/4 full. Using a large ice-cream scoop is an easy way to tackle this task.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting:

Add the cream cheese and the butter together in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until blended and very creamy, about 2 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time starting on low speed, then blending in on medium speed.

Add the vanilla with the last cup of powdered sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed. Use the last ½ cup of powdered sugar if needed for a stiffer frosting.

Toss in the toasted pecans blending into the frosting on medium speed.

Spread a dollop of the cream cheese frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Store the cupcakes in a sealed container.

Makes 30 cupcakes. You can also bake the cake using three 8″ pans, two 9″ pans or a 9″x13″ baking dish.

Hummingbird Cupcakes, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 20, 2019
: Makes 30 cupcakes.

Layers of creamy bananas, sweet pineapple and toasted pecans with a wisp of cinnamon topped with a buttery cream cheese frosting - whipped with more toasted pecans!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple, with juice, 8-ounces
  • 2 cups ripe mashed bananas, about 4 medium bananas
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 package cream cheese, 8-ounces, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar, measured after sifting
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup toasted chopped pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the cake:
  • Step 2 Put the flour, sugar, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend on medium speed until the dry ingredients are mixed together, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Step 3 Lightly beat the eggs then add to the dry ingredients along with the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, crushed pineapple and any juice, the bananas and toasted pecans.
  • Step 4 Mix on low speed just until the wet and dry ingredients are blended together, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 Line 30 cups in muffins tins with paper liners. Fill the cups about 3/4 full. Using a large ice-cream scoop is an easy way to tackle this task.
  • Step 6 Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Step 7 Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Step 8 While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting:
  • Step 9 Add the cream cheese and the butter together in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until blended and very creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 10 Add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time starting on low speed, then blending in on medium speed.
  • Step 11 Add the vanilla with the last cup of powdered sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed. Use the last ½ cup of powdered sugar if needed for a stiffer frosting.
  • Step 12 Toss in the toasted pecans blending into the frosting on medium speed.
  • Step 13 Spread a dollop of the cream cheese frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Store the cupcakes in a sealed container.
  • Step 14 Makes 30 cupcakes. You can also bake the cake using three 8″ pans, two 9″ pans or a 9″x13″ baking dish.
Irish Whiskey Affogato

Irish Whiskey Affogato

Looking for something a wee bit decadent to celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Look no further than this luscious cocktail – boasting both Irish whiskey and Irish cream! Throw in a splash of dark roast coffee, a scoop of ice cream and you’re sure to please even the fussiest leprechaun!

I’m not really sure if I would classify this as a cocktail or dessert but it really doesn’t matter because it checks a lot of boxes!  This Italian inspired dessert is traditionally served with a simple scoop of ice cream swimming in espresso of dark roast coffee.

Glorious on its own but this version is so good it will make you want to pinch someone!

Start with a great Irish whiskey. I’ve been reading articles on Irish whiskeys and one jumped out – Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey. This beautiful, smooth whiskey received rave reviews and it doesn’t’ disappoint. It’s partially aged in rum casks creating a smooth slightly earthy, fruity profile.

And you can’t leave out Bailey’s Irish Cream – a beautiful blend of Irish whiskey and cream – it’s a classic liqueur. Just adding it to a cup of coffee makes something quite special. So imagine it swirled with Irish whiskey plus a decadent coffee ice cream slowly melting in a cup of rich, dark roast coffee.

Top with fluffy whipped cream, chopped bittersweet chocolate and indulgence is a sip away! There might not be a better way to say cheers to St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Whiskey Affogato

3 tablespoons good Irish whiskey, such as Teeling Small Batch

2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 large scoop coffee ice cream

6 tablespoons dark roast coffee, cooled slightly

Whipped cream and chopped bittersweet chocolate for garnish

Pour the Irish whiskey and the Irish cream into a tall glass or mug.

Add the scoop of ice cream, taking care not to splash the spirits out of the glass!

Pour the coffee over the ice cream. Top with a dollop or two of whipped cream and a sprinkling of the chopped chocolate.

If you prefer a colder drink, chill the coffee before adding it to your cocktail. This makes 1 large drink. For 2 smaller drinks you can split the portions of Irish whiskey, Irish cream and coffee into two smaller glasses and add a scoop of ice cream to each.

Irish Whiskey Affogato, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 15, 2019
: Makes 1 large drink.

A luscious cocktail – boasting both Irish whiskey and Irish cream! Throw in a splash of dark roast coffee, a scoop of coffee ice cream and it’s sure to please!

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons good Irish whiskey, such as Teeling Small Batch
  • 2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 large scoop coffee ice cream
  • 6 tablespoons dark roast coffee, cooled slightly
  • Whipped cream and chopped bittersweet chocolate for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the Irish whiskey and the Irish cream into a tall glass or mug.
  • Step 2 Add the scoop of ice cream, taking care not to splash it in the spirits!
  • Step 3 Pour the coffee over the ice cream.
  • Step 4 Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of the chopped chocolate.
  • Step 5 If you prefer a cold drink, chill the coffee before adding it to your cocktail.
  • Step 6 For 2 smaller drinks you can split the portions of Irish whiskey, Irish cream and coffee into two smaller glasses and add a scoop of ice cream to each.
Irish Freckle Bread

Irish Freckle Bread

Though I’m not prone to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, it seems appropriate to give a nod to this charming old holiday. No green beer here but instead a fruit and nut studded loaf that creates a celebration fit for a Saint!

In flipping through dozens of recipes for the traditional Irish Soda Bread, I ran across this gem in one of my favorite “go to” cookbooks for baking guidance – “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion”. It’s a fabulous book loaded with history and tips on all things baking. With a few tweaks for personal flavor preference, the outcome is almost addictive! This loaf is full of luscious dried fruit – golden raisins, currants, plump dried apricots and dates – all steeped in rich, black tea.

This medley of flavor is nestled into a beautiful whole wheat batter balanced with the crunch of toasted walnuts and deep but subtle sweetness from brown sugar.

Before baking, this quick bread is dusted with a sprinkling of sugar crystals creating a delicate finish to the top crust of this golden loaf.

A nutty, fruity bread – perfect for breakfast or brunch.

Or maybe whip up a batch of whipped cream or whiskey sauce for a tantalizing dessert! An absolutely delicious bite but no need to wait for St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy this delectable Irish Freckle Bread!

Irish Freckle Bread

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup currants

1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces – about 30 apricots

1 cup dates, chopped into small pieces – about 22 dates

1 cup hot strong black tea, brewed with two tea bags

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg

1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the raisins, currants, chopped apricots and chopped dates in a mixing bowl.

Pour the hot tea over the fruit and stir to mix together. Allow the fruit to steep in the tea until completely cool, about 15 minutes stirring frequently.

In a large mixing bowl add the brown sugar along with white whole-wheat flour, the pastry flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are blended together, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the fruit and tea along with the butter, blending on low speed until the fruit is mixed into the batter, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the egg, mixing on low for about 2 minutes.

Scoop the batter into an 8” round cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top of the bread.

Bake in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the bread tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the bread out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes one 8-inch round loaf.

Irish Freckle Bread, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 13, 2019
: Make one 8-inch round loaf.

This loaf is full of luscious dried fruit - golden raisins, currants, plump dried apricots and dates – all steeped in rich, black tea. This medley of flavor is nestled into a beautiful whole wheat batter balanced with the crunch of toasted walnuts and a deep but subtle sweetness from brown sugar.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup currants
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces – about 30 apricots
  • 1 cup dates, chopped into small pieces – about 22 dates
  • 1 cup hot strong black tea, brewed with two tea bags
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine the raisins, currants, chopped apricots and chopped dates in a mixing bowl.
  • Step 2 Pour the hot tea over the fruit and stir to mix together. Allow the fruit to steep in the tea until completely cool, about 15 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Step 3 In a large mixing bowl add the brown sugar along with white whole-wheat flour, the pastry flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are blended together, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the fruit and tea along with the butter, blending on low speed until the fruit is mixed into the batter, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Stir in the egg, mixing on low for about 2 minutes.
  • Step 6 Scoop the batter into an 8” round cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Step 7 Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top of the bread.
  • Step 8 Bake in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 10 or until the bread tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Step 9 Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the bread out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Peanut Butter Bacon Bread

Peanut Butter Bacon Bread

A beautiful golden loaf of bread chock-full of roasted peanuts and delectable bits of bacon – yes bacon! All swirled in a luscious peanut butter batter.

It seems our love affair with bacon has gone on for years. This is a fun and utterly delicious recipe I found while digging through my Mom’s collection. This unusual recipe dates back to the late ‘50s and includes many familiar ingredients in a traditional quick bread and some that are unique.

Sweet and salty flavors play well together with a creamy peanut butter batter loaded with roasted peanuts and crispy bacon. The results will surprise you. At first bite it reminds you of a peanut butter cookie, not overly sweet but definitely full of peanut butter flavor. Then the crunch of the peanuts and oh, that bacon make for a delightful loaf!

If you can’t find unsalted roasted peanuts – most on store shelves are salted – it’s easy to roast your own. Look for raw peanuts, preferably without their trademark red skins. I buy nuts from North Richland Hill’s Farmer’s Market – a local farmer’s market. The nuts and dried fruits are some of the best I’ve ever come across. Roasting your own peanuts only takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Their nutty aroma will fill your kitchen in the most amazing way when they’re roasted to perfection! Roast a big batch and freeze any extra to maintain their freshness.

Then there’s that marvelous bacon! If you haven’t tried Pederson’s Natural Farms bacon, search them out. Two of my favorites are the applewood smoked bacon and the cherry smoked – both are wonderful! For this recipe you’ll need a 10-ounce package, about 9 to 10 slices. Anytime I cook a large batch of bacon I find the oven is the easiest – and the least messy – way to cook it. Spread the bacon out on a wire rack, flipping it occasionally until it’s crispy and crunchy through and through.

Roasted peanuts and crisp, crumbled bacon – hidden treasures inside this peanut butter bread!

Perfect for a brunch or luncheon, snack or dessert – this rich savory, salty, lightly sweet bread will surprise and delight!

Peanut Butter Bacon Bread

1 cup milk

1 extra-large egg

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon melted shortening

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts

1 cup crumbled crispy bacon

Whisk together the milk and the egg.

Pour the sugar along with the shortening into a mixing bowl. Add the milk and egg and mix on medium-low until blended, about 2 to 3 minutes then add the peanut butter.

Continue mixing on medium speed for another 2 minutes then stir in the vanilla extract.

Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the 2 cups of flour to coat the nuts and the bacon. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and kosher salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter in two batches and blend on low speed just until the flour disappears.

Toss the chopped peanuts and the crumbled bacon with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Blend into the batter on low speed.

Scoop the batter into a large loaf pan (9”x5”x3”) that has been greased, floured and preferably lined with parchment paper.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and finish cooling on the wire rack. Keep the bread refrigerated and warm to room temperature for serving.

Makes one large loaf.

To roast raw peanuts: Spread them out on a rimmed sheet and pop in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice while they roast.

To cook bacon in the oven: Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Set a wire baking rack over the top and lightly spray it with a cooking spray. Lay the strips of bacon out on the wire rack and cook in a 400-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, turning 3 to 4 times while it cooks. You want the bacon very crisp.

Peanut Butter Bacon Bread

February 22, 2019
: Makes one large loaf.

A beautiful golden loaf of bread chocked full of roasted peanuts and delectable bits of bacon – yes bacon! All swirled in a luscious peanut butter batter.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted shortening
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1 cup crumbled crispy bacon
Directions
  • Step 1 Whisk together the milk and the egg.
  • Step 2 Pour the sugar along with the shortening into a mixing bowl. Add the milk and egg and mix on medium-low until blended, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the peanut butter and continue mixing on medium speed for another 2 minutes then stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Step 4 Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the 2 cups of flour to coat the nuts and the bacon. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and kosher salt.
  • Step 5 Add the flour mixture to the batter in two batches and blend on low speed just until the flour disappears.
  • Step 6 Toss the chopped peanuts and the crumbled bacon with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Blend into the batter on low speed.
  • Step 7 Scoop the batter into a large loaf pan (9”x5”x3”) that has been greased, floured and preferably lined with parchment paper.
  • Step 8 Bake in a 350-degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Step 9 Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and finish cooling on the wire rack.
  • Step 10 Keep the bread refrigerated and warm to room temperature for serving.
  • Step 11 To roast raw peanuts: Spread them out on a rimmed sheet and pop in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice while they roast.
  • Step 12 To cook bacon in the oven: Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Set a wire baking rack over the top and lightly spray it with a cooking spray. Lay the strips of bacon out on the wire rack and cook in a 400-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, turning 3 to 4 times while it cooks. You want the bacon very crisp.