Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category


December 13, 2014

Noel Balls (Bitten Word Cover-to-Cover 2014 Project)
Posted by Chammer

After seeing Betsy’s post about her adventures making Lamb Tartare in last year’s Bitten Word Cover to Cover Project, I vowed to sign up in 2014. I regretted not signing up in 2013 but a sick pregnant girl potentially making Lamb Tartare could have been disastrous! This year’s cookie assignment seemed a little more tame and the littles were able to help me bake. Nothing puts a mom in the holiday spirit more than baking with her kids, except maybe the glass of eggnog enjoyed after the cookies are done and the kids have gone to bed…

The Noel Balls from Food and Wine were delicious.  Don’t let the Medjool dates scare you.  These little beauties are delicious, albeit a tad pricey. After tasting them (neither W nor I had tried them before) we checked out the sugar content.  14.5 grams in one date!  No sugar added.  I’ve previously made Pecan Snowballs which were very similar but with no dates. Between the pecans and Medjool dates, these aren’t your everyday sugar cookies. Worth it once a year for Christmas? Probably.  Maybe Noel Balls should be the new cookies left out for Santa and Mrs. Claus! 🙂

This recipe is pretty simple with easy-to-find ingredients and a quick baking time. They also baked up great at high altitude (over 6,000 feet) which isn’t true for every cookie recipe.  The final product is appealing and impressive.  A perfect solution if you need a quick cookie for a holiday party or to put in a tin to gift to friends!

Noel Balls
Food and Wine

1 1/4 cups pecan halves
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped plump Medjool dates
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely ground. In a medium bowl, whisk the ground pecans with the flour, dates and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter with ¾ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the remaining 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a large pie pan. Working in 3 batches, using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared sheets at least 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then roll them in the confectioners’ sugar until completely coated. Let cool completely, then roll again in the confectioners’ sugar.


September 22, 2011

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Posted by Chammer

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I told Betsy we did not have enough desserts on this website, so I am correcting that!  This is hands down the best cake I’ve ever made.  Dad and Will love this cake (both being lovers of lemon desserts) so I suppose if you ever get on their bad side, you could make this and make up for whatever it was that you did. Since I never do anything to get on Will’s bad side, I just make this for him on his birthdays and our anniversary.  Turns out perfect every time.
Lemon Layer Cake
•1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 c. sugar
• 4 large eggs, at room temp.
• 1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
• 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
• 3/4 c. milk
• 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Grease and lightly flour three 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed or
parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
• Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
• Add the eggs one at a time.
• Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk an dthe lemon juice and
zest, beating well after each addition.
• Divide the cake batter among the cake pans.
• Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out
• Let the cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire
• When cake has cooled, spread the icing evenly between the layers and over the top of the cake.
Lemon Buttercream Icing
• 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
• 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
• Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar and then the juice and the zest.
• Beat until smooth and creamy.
• Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to be of
good, spreadable consistency.
• If desired, add a few drops of yellow food coloring and mix thoroughly.
• Use and store at room temperature.
Source: The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


Strawberry Tart
Posted by Chammer

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We had friends over yesterday to watch the season premiere of Modern Family so I made this tart.  Mmm, it was good! I changed a few things: I needed more flour, the dough was super sticky at first.  It worked great though when I added more flour (maybe even as much as 1/4 cup). I changed some things about the pastry cream as well.  I used regular old vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean and added Cognac to the mixture as well.  And it was good.

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pea-size pieces
  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the pastry cream filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, topped and sliced
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


For the crust:

In the food processor,combine the butter,flour, almonds and salt and pulse until it looks like grated cheese. Add the egg yolk and half the water and pulse; the dough should start to come together. If it does not, add the remaining water and pulse until the dough forms into a ball. Dump the “doughball” onto a floured work surface and using the heel of your hand, schmear it across the work surface. Repeat this process 1 to 2 more times, then form the dough into a disk, wrap it inplastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 to 45 minutes.

*TIP- this can be done up to a week in advance or frozen for a longer time.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

To roll the crust:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before rolling to let it soften. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Lay the dough in the tart pan. Make a small “doughball” with a little of the dough that is hanging over the edge of the tart pan. Dip the dough ball in flour and use is to carefully push the dough into the corners of the tart pan. Once the dough has been pushed into the corners of the tart pan, use the rolling pinto roll over the top edge of the tart pan to cut a clean edge. Line the tart with aluminum foil, be sure to push it into the corners. This will keep the sides of the tart tall and straight and able to hold the filling. Fill the tart with the dried beans. Place in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and bake for another 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.

For the pastry cream:

Place the cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar and vanilla extract in a saucepan. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil over low heat. While the cream is coming to a boil, combine the eggsand remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and the cornstarch and milk in another bowl. Beat with a whisk to a homogeneous mixture, no big lumps of egg white! When the cream comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. *Whisk half of the cream into the egg/sugar mixture and then IMMEDIATELY whisk it back into the pan with the hot cream.

Return the pan to a medium heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch/milk mixture. Bring this to a boil to thicken the pastry cream. Add the Cognac. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. It is necessary to bring this mixture to a boil to cook the starch. If the mixture is not brought to a boil the mixture will feel starchy and gritty. The desired outcome is the consistency of vanilla pudding. YUM! Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill. This can be done really quickly over an ice bath.

To assemble the tart:

Fill the tart shell with the chilled pastry cream. Top with the sliced strawberries. You can arrange the strawberries in circles or in lines; it’s up to you! Just make it look pretty. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.


January 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cake
Posted by Chammer

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Oh Chocolate Decadence!  Is there a more perfect food marriage than chocolate and peanut butter?

Mom made molten chocolate cake in September when I was home and since she showed me the recipe, I’ve probably made it half a dozen times…yes, in four short months!  I’ve never tried to make it with peanut butter, but I was craving something chocolatey with peanut butter, so tonight I experimented!  Here’s the recipe, adapted from The Pioneer Woman.


  • 4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray 4 custard cups liberally with cooking spray; place on cookie sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, stir until butter and chocolate are melted and well mixed.

Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Mix peanut butter and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar together. Melt slightly in the microwave, 20 seconds at 50%.

Divide half of chocolate batter between custard cups.  Dallop peanut butter mixture in each cup. Cover with remaining batter.

Bake 12-13 minutes until sides are firm, top is cracked, and center is soft (still jiggly). Let stand 1 minute.

Carefully invert onto plates, top with powdered sugar or whipped cream.


February 8, 2010

Apple Brown Betty
Posted by Ellie Mae

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I finally cooked! And I used the simplest recipe I could find. And I didn’t change a thing, except I have a small oven so I have a small baking dish so I had to use less ingredients. I still used 3 apples with my 5 slices of bread and it was nice and appley. I wouldn’t recommend cutting down on the apples. I also didn’t measure the sugar, so I bet I bet I used a bit less than 1 cup. So actually, I did change it, a little. Mine came out nice and mushy and sugar-y, but you gotta really bake it if you want those crusty corners to fight over with your guests. That’s what I intend to do next time.

Here’s the recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman:

Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8

3 whole Apples, Preferably Granny Smith
7 slices Wheat Bread
¾ cups Regular Salted Butter
1-½ cup Packed Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons (to 4 Tablespoons) Water
Preparation Instructions
Peel and thinly slice 3 apples. Slice bread into a small dice, or tear into very small pieces.
Coat a small baking dish or pie plate with butter. Then add 1/3 of the brown sugar, 1/3 of the apple slices, and 1/3 of the breadcrumbs. Repeat these layers twice more, ending with breadcrumbs.
Slice butter and lay slices all over the top of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle dish with water and a little more brown sugar, and bake in a 375-degree oven, covered in foil, until done – about 45 minutes. Remove foil in last few minutes of baking to brown the top.