Browse Category by Desserts
Candy, Elaine Walker

Maple Candy

2 cups pure maple syrup (use amber grade B for a deeper flavor)

Lightly grease the sides of a large saucepan (this will prevent the syrup from boiling up).

Lightly grease molds (silicone “bite-sized brownie” molds are best).

Pour the maple syrup into the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir. Boil until syrup reaches 235 degrees F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.

Turn off the burner but leave saucepan there to cool. Cool to 175 degrees F without stirring. Once the temperature has cooled to exactly 175, stir the mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon until the color begins to turn lighter and mixture becomes thick and creamy. Don’t overbeat or it will become crumbly.

Pour into molds. Set aside to cool. Once cool, unmold candy. Store in airtight containers up to 1 month.

Makes about 18?

Cookies and Brownies, Elaine Walker

Italian Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)

1 pound almond paste
2 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 cup pine nuts
confectioners’ sugar
non-stick foil

Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Use a food processor to break up the almond paste into a granulated form. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Put in large bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites for a long time. Get them nice & fluffy. Fold them into the almond paste/sugar mixture very gently.

Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil. (If you can’t find non-stick foil, you can use regular foil but cookies will stick. You can lightly oil the foil, but this causes the cookies to spread out more and be flat.)

Using lightly floured hands, form small (bite size) balls of dough.

Pour the pine nuts into a bowl & roll the balls of dough in it, pressing the nuts in as you go.

Put the cookies on the cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until very lightly brown on top. Leaving cookies on the foil lined cookie sheet, let them cool for 10 minutes.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Store the cookies in a tin with foil on top.

Cookies and Brownies, Elaine Walker

Maple Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor, optional
1 tablespoon milk (optional – only if necessary to make a spreadable filling)

To make the dough:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, and maple flavor.
  2. Add the flour and mix just until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. (The dough can chill longer than 30 minutes, but if it does, allow about 15 minutes for it to warm a bit and soften before rolling it out.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Use a cutter to cut the dough into shapes — leaves, stars, hearts, circles, your choice. (To make the thicker stamped cookies, see “tips,” below.) Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re beginning to brown a bit. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan.

To make the filling:
Mix together all of the filling ingredients except the milk, stirring until smooth. If the filling isn’t spreadable, add a bit of the milk to soften its texture.

To assemble the cookies:
Spread the bottom of half the cookies with filling; if you have a scale, about 14g (1/2 ounce) is a good amount for each. Top with the remaining cookies.

Tips
An easy way to dress up these cookies is to use cookie stamps (available from King Arthur Flour) We recommend doubling the ingredients for the cookies (since you’ll need more dough to make a thicker sandwiches with the stamps) and adding 3/4 cup almond flour to the double batch to achieve a better imprint in the baked cookies.
Here are some other tips for cookie-stamp success:

  1. Chill your dough for a full 2 hours before starting the stamping process.
  2. Scoop tablespoon-sized portions of dough, rounding them into balls if necessary. Lightly dip one side in flour, and place them flour-side up onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Dip each stamp in flour before pressing it onto the dough; repeat before each use.
  4. Firmly tap the stamp against the baking sheet if the dough happens to stick to the stamp. If the dough sticks really badly, clean out the stamp, reroll the dough into a ball, dust the dough and the stamp with flour, and try again!
  5. Remove excess dough around the stamped pattern before or after baking.
  6. Remember, you’re making sandwich cookies: be sure to make an equal amount of each stamp pattern.
  7. Stamp cookies may take a few minutes longer to bake because of their thickness. Aim for 23 to 28 minutes.
Breads and Muffins, Cake, Elaine Walker

Chocolatey Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil.

Chop 1/3 of the chocolate chips into small bits; return them to the remaining chocolate.

With hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment, combine the granulated and brown sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Add the pumpkin puree and 2/3 cup oil and mix on low until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, allspice and cloves until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated and no bits of flour mixture remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle extra brown sugar and cinnamon on top, if desired.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the top of the bread is firm to the touch and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, and a cake tester or wooden pick produces only chocolate when inserted into the bread.

Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. To unmold, run a knife around the perimeter of the loaf pan and invert the pan. Slice the bread and serve at room temperature.

Dad, Dawn Butler, Desserts, Mom

High Protein Baked Custard

2 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
5 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Mix milk and cream in saucepan and heat until the mixture steams but does not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Place eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Slowly pour the cooled milk-cream mixture into the bowl of eggs and sugar and mix well.
  4. Fill 4 to 6 single-serving baking dishes 3/4 full.
  5. Set dishes in a baking pan and put in the oven.
  6. Pour hot water into the baking pan (do not let water get into the custard dishes). The water level should be even with the custard. (This helps the custard to bak evenly and have a smooth texture.)
  7. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the custard comes out clean.

Can be served warm or cool.
Store in the refrigerator.

Debbie Allen, Desserts, Pie

Classic French Berry Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust

2 pints fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, or an assortment of berries
1/3 cup red currant jelly mixed with 1 teaspoon water, for glazing
1-1/2 cups Pastry Cream (see below)
1-9 inch pie shell made from Chocolate Shortbread Crust (see below)

Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
3-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan (without turning on the heat), whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk — this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.

Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky.

Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold.

Chocolate Shortbread Crust
1-1/4 cups flour
1 stick plus l tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.

Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms dumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press the foil, buttered side down, onto the crust. Place the tart pan onto a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust is puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 8 minutes or until the crust is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

Assembling the Tart

Smooth the pastry cream by giving it a couple of strong turns with a whisk. Spoon enough of the pastry cream into the tart crust to come almost to the rim, then even the surface with a rubber spatula.

Carefully lay the fruit on the cream, arranging them in any pattern that pleases you. If you are using strawberries, either halve them from top to bottom or slice them.

Bring the jelly and the water to a boil in a microwave oven or on the stovetop. Working with a pastry brush or pastry feather, dab each berry with a spot of jelly.

Or, if you like, you can glaze the entire surface of the tart, including the bit of pastry cream that peeks through the berries.

Cookies and Brownies, Dawn Butler, Desserts

Apple Dessert Bars

CRUST
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

FILLING
1-1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
1-1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375°.

For the crust, place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined.

Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides (use a metal measuring cup to make the corners). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 350°.

For the filling, combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Note: Be sure to use Granny Smith and Golden Delicious – don’t substitute other varieties. This is not a very sweet dessert – it could be eaten at breakfast like a coffee cake.

Cookies and Brownies, Desserts, Elaine Walker

Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2¼ sticks) salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
6 ounces semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 egg, beaten
Demerara* sugar, for rolling
flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen, for sprinkling

* Demerara is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, crunchy texture, and pale brown color. It will give the cookies delicious crispy edges. If you don’t want to buy special sugar, you can substitute regular light brown sugar.

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer and a medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and vanilla on medium-high till it’s light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, followed by the chocolate chunks, and beat just to blend.
  4. Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting all sticky. Using your hands (just like you’re playing with clay), form the dough into a log shape. Each half should form two logs, 2 inches in diameter.
  5. Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Brush the outside of the logs with the beaten egg and roll them in the Demerara sugar.
  8. Slice each log into ½-inch-thick rounds, place them on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Cookies and Brownies, Desserts, Dorothy Lamalie

Outrageous Brownies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (divided into 8 ounces & 6 ounces)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered instant espresso
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a 13″X 9″ baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 8 ounces of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool to almost room temperature.

In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, powdered espresso, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the walnuts and remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then open the oven, lift the backing sheet and rap it against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Turn the pan around and rap the other side. (This stops the rising process and will give the brownies their deliciously dense texture.) Bake another 15 or so minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean – do not overbake.

Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

Note: This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook but her version was double in size and used a 12×18 jelly roll pan, which Mom did. So the baking time of 30 minutes for a halved recipe and 13×9 pan is approximate. Also note that these are very rich.

Cake, Desserts, Elaine Walker

3-Layer Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Cake Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
4 cups unsweetened applesauce

Frosting Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted caramel sauce

Garnish:
salted caramel sauce
chopped peanuts

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the pans, tapping out any excess.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
  7. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on low for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
  10. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
  11. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and allow to cool completely.

Frosting Directions:

  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.
  2. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixtures comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. (It might seem like it won’t get to the fluffy point, but stick with it, it’ll get there!)
  6. Add the salted caramel sauce and continue mixing until combined and fluffy. (If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it reaches a fluffy consistency.)

Assemble the Cake: If any of the cake layers are domed on top, trim the top off to create flat surfaces. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1¼ cups of the frosting on top. Add the next layer and top with 1¼ cups of the frosting. Add the third layer on top and spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until firm. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Return to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.

Store the cake in the refrigerator. Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.