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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Pumpkin…cake!

Well it’s Thanksgiving today in Canada and even though many people think that us frenchies (I’m from Montreal which makes me French Canadian) don’t celebrate this wonderful and delicious holiday, well we do! And to prove it here is a great recipe that I found last week on the Martha Stewart website and it has been tried, tested and approved ny none other than MOI! Oh yes, by my friends and family too of course!

This cake reminded me of the pumpkin pie my mother use to make when I was little. Oddly, I don’t really like pumpking pie so why I was so attracted by this cake recipe is a mystery to me. I guess that I was in the Thanksgiving spirit?

The cake is very dense and doesn’t really taste like pumpkin at all. Even my friend who hates the vegetable in the cake combo, went for a second piece. Martha suggested a vanilla frosting. It was okay but a bit sweet, if I were to do it again I think that I would try some type of glaze (orange perhaps?) instead.

But the icing made it rustic looking which was nice. I didn’t put any nutmeg or allspice as I don’t like those spices very much.And I reduced the amount of sugar as well (which was a good thing because the icing is very sweet). If you want to make the cake look more festive you could always add some orange food coloring in it!

Ingredients – Serves 8 to 10

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup homemade pumpkin puree or canned

1/2 cup warm milk

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Coat with butter.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.

Unmold cake. Using an offset spatula, spread icing over top of cake, and decorate with walnut halves.

Vanilla Frosting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

Directions

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and milk; stir until smooth. Layer over cake once the cake has cooled.

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Well the cold weather has finally come to Montreal, and when it’s 10 degrees outside, all I want to do is put on my pj’s and some warm wool socks and bake something that will warm me up.

I found this great recipe a few weeks back and I’ve done it twice already! The cake usually lasts less than 2 days in my house which is a good indication that it’s FANTASTIC! I must say that it’s probably one of the moistest cakes that I’ve ever made and with the chocolate icing to top it off it’s simply delish!

Even baby couldn’t resist this tasty cake!

Ingredients (adapted fom Slice of Feist)

1 & 1/2 Cups Shredded Zucchini

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup high quality Unsweetened Cocoa Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Ganache (a nice french term meaning a mixture of chocolate and cream)
2 tablespoons of butter

chocolate chips

35% cream

In a pan melt the butter. Add the chocolate chips and some cream until the desired texture is reached.

In this version I added walnuts but it made it taste more like a brownie…

Directions

Heat your oven at 350 degrees.

In a mixer, combine your oil, sugar and vanilla. Add in your eggs and shredded zucchini.

In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add this dry mixture into your wet mixture. Beat until combined. Mix in your chocolate chips.

Scrape your batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake for 50-65 minutes (65 minutes was my magic number!)

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Peanut Butter and jelly cookies

I LOOOOOOOVE peanut butter cookies! They are definitely one of my favorite kinds and I have very fond memories of baking them with my mother when I was little. I remember taking them out from the oven and putting them on news paper for them to cool off. So when I saw Giada De Laurentis making them on her show, I was glued to the tv. They simply looked delicious, I had to make them at once! So after obsessing over the recipe for about a week, I finally gathered up all the ingredients and made a batch. To my delight, they were moist and delicious! The only problem was that after making them, I couldn’t stop eating them!
Ingredients

Preparation

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and the baking soda.

3- Beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar, light brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract and mix until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated.

4- Form the dough into small balls.

5- Using the thin end of a wooden spoon, make a hole in the center of each ball of dough, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch deep. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam into each hole. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes until the dough has spread and the surface of the cookies are crackled. My magic number was 12 minutes!

Cool down cookies and serve!

Note: I put less sugar than in the original recipe and didn’t  add any cocoa powder as I felt that the peanut and jam combo was already plenty…

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Amaretti cookies!

I had been obsessing over almond cookies for quite a while now. As you know, I made some crunchy almond cookies a few weeks back, but I remained unsatisfied as I was looking for a chewy almond cookie, like the true Italian Amaretti cookies that I love so much! After trying 2 different recipes I was losing hope, but luck came my way, or perhaps just the blog Joy Of Baking, and I finally found THE recipe for Amaretti cookies. They are chewy and simply delicious! Your friends and family will think that you are a domestic goddess like Nigella (little do they know that this easy recipe only has 4 ingredients!). My batch of cookies must have stayed on my dining room table for about 5 minutes when the guests arrived. Luckily, I had stashed a few away 🙂

Ingredients

2 cups of almond flour
1 c white sugar (superfine sugar)
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon of almond extract

Method

-Preheat oven to 300 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

-Beat the egg whites until they become firm (2 minutes)

-Mix together the almond flour and sugar. Add the vanilla and almond extract and pulse for a few seconds. Add the eggs.

-Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into  a ball. Put it on the parchment paper and flatten it slightly with a spoon (or your finger) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

Note: I changed the recipe so if you would like the original version, go to the Joy the Baker blog…

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Crunchy Almond Cookies!

I tasted these Swedish almond cookies on New Year’s Eve. My friend Simon held a Swedish themed potluck party, every dish was Sweden inspired and these cookies gathered ALL my attention at the table. I immediately urged my friend Melanie (the author of these tasty treats) to give me the recipe!

This easy recipe only has 4 ingredients, and the lack of flour and butter gives them that Amaretti/biscotti edge! They remind me of those crunchy Italian walnut cookies that are usually served with coffee.

Ingredients

-2 cups of almonds, chopped (I actually used 1 c. of presliced ones, and 1 c. of grinded almonds)

-3/4 cup packed brown sugar

-2 tablespoons of flour, sifted

-2 egg whites

-1 t s. almond or vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Whip/beat egg whites until stiff and fluffy. Fold in brown sugar, flour and almonds and almond extract. The mixture will look like wet almonds, I was a bit worried, but then when it cooks it has a meringue/crunchy effect.

Place little blobs of the cookie dough on your cookie sheet for about 25 minutes!

I made these cookies yesterday, and there are only 4 left. I also gave some to a friend as a birthday gift!

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Ooey Gooey Poor Man’s Pudding!

As a French Canadian, one of our most enjoyed desserts in Quebec is pouding chômeur. The litteral translation for this dish would be poor man’s pudding but it is also known as pudding cake. Whatever you want to call it, this dessert is easy, tasty and gooey (notice many of my recipes have this criteria). The cake is moist and spungy, and the sauce is pure caramel bliss. This is why poor man’s pudding is one of my favorite desserts!

Developed by the working women in 1929, this cheap dessert was created in a time of economic crisis (hence it’s name). The recipe has evolved over the years, for example, many like to use maple syrup instead of brown sugar, but I say, if it’s called poor man’s pudding, than let it be! So I stick to the brown sugar which gives this dessert a creamy saucy texture.

Ingredients (8 portions)

1 1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 cups of heavy cream

1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)

1 cup of white sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup of milk

Preparation

Heat the oven at 400 °F.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, then add the brown sugar. Once the sugar starts melting, gradually add the cream. Bring to  a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove and reserve.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, the butter and the white sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the flour, the baking soda and the salt. Mix and slowly ad the milk.

Pour the mix in a greased loaf dish . Pour the sirup over the mix (I know this seems odd but the sirup will go through the mix and sink to the bottom!) Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

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