Category Archives: Desserts

Lots of tasty treats, the perfect end to a meal! (Some even low-fat!)

Bourbon Fudge Cake

9 ounces chocolate, divided
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp bourbon, combined with 2 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened, sifted cocoa powder (nonalkalized)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
7 large eggs, room temperature
Fudge Glaze (recipe follows)

Position rack in the middle of oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan (which is at least 2 1/2 inches deep). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Generously grease the paper and sides of the pan. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.

Coarsely chop 6 ounces of the chocolate. In a heavy saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate, butter, salt and vanilla. Warm over low heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully to prevent scorching. When chocolate and butter are completely melted, remove from heat. In a thin stream, stir in the bourbon-water mixture. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. It may appear slightly curdled. This is okay!

In a food processor, combine the sugar and pecans. Process until the nuts are ground to a powder but not oily (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 minutes). Transfer the pecan mixture to a large bowl. Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate. Process the chocolate in the food processor until chopped fairly fine. Add the flour and process until the chocolate and flour are blended and the chocolate is very fine, about 45 seconds.

In large mixing bowl with whisk beater attached, beat the eggs and pecan mixture until well blended. Turn speed to high and beat 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is lightened and almost doubled in volume. Reduce the speed to medium and beat two minutes longer. The mixture will deflate but will be stable. Remove 1 cup of the egg mixture from the bowl and stir it into the melted chocolate mixture until well blended. Add the melted chocolate-egg mixture and the flour mixture to the large bowl. Using a whisk, combine the ingredients just until well blended, but don’t over mix. Turn the batter out into the pan. Rap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set of a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until the center springs back when lightly tapped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean except for some moist crumbs at the bottom.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let cool completely 1 1/2 hours, or more. Run a knife around the cake and gently remove the pan sides.

To glaze the cake, which has been carefully inverted from the pan following complete cooling, place back on the 8 inch round cake pan bottom.

Pour a generous two thirds of the fudge glaze over the top of the cake and lightly spread it out to the edges using a long bladed metal spatula. Keep your strokes even and smooth and spread remaining glaze over the sides of cake.

Yields 10 to 12 servings

Fudge Glaze

Similar to the fudge making process, the challenge is determining when the glaze is done (soft candy stage, unset, unlike fudge). It’s an excellent glaze for brownies and any type of cake you want to top with chocolate.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/8 tsp salt
4 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Hot water, if required

In a heavy 2 1/2 to 3 quart saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cover he pot with a tight fitting lid and boil for 2 minutes to allow the steam to wash the sugar crystals from the sides of pan (this eliminates possible graininess). Wash any sugar remaining on spoon.

Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium. In any sugar remains, wash down the sides of the pan with a damp paper towel or a pastry brush dipped in warm water. You may wish to use a candy thermometer to test for doneness. Gently boil, stirring, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan until the mixture reaches 227 to 228 degrees F. This will take about 1 ½ minutes. Remove from heat.

Gently stir the chocolate, then vanilla, into the mixture until just the chocolate melts and the glaze is completely smooth. If it looks oily, you have over mixed it and must thin with a bit of hot water until it is glossy, and smooth. Set aside for 2 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze thickens and cools slightly. If too thick, add a bit more hot water until a pourable, spreadable consistency is obtained. If it is too thin and runny to spread, allow to cool further so it will stiffen.

Yields enough for a 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies or a 9 inch cake. (Recipe originally appeared on “Gourmet A Go-Go” blog pre-2007.)


Custard Pie

You can use a store-bought pie shell for this, or you can create your own. Either way, it’s a wonderful finish to any meal!

3 large eggs
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon if desired)

1 9″ pie shell (deep dish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter one side of a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the inside of the pie shell, pressing into place. Weigh the foil down with pie weights or enough dried beans/legumes to cover the bottom of the pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, removing foil and whatever was used to weigh it down. (Please note, if you used dried beans or legumes, save them for the next time you wish to “blind bake” a pie crust. They won’t be edible after being used as pie weights.)

In a large bowl, mix the filling ingredients, trying not to froth the mixture.
Pour custard mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg (and cinnamon if using).

Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Serves 8.


Pumpkin Mini-Muffins with Spiced Icing

Halloween season brings forth the pumpkin-lovers in most people.  These mini-muffins with a pumpkin spiced buttercream frosting are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

(Note: You can use any size muffin tin and adjust baking time, however, using mini-muffin tins, you’ll get over 70 delicious two-bite iced pumpkin muffins!) (Recipe is modified from  Joy of Cooking)

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons double-acting baking power
2 eggs
2 to 4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 cup canned (or freshly cooked, cooled and mashed) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup golden raisins

Sift together first six ingredients, place aside. Beat eggs, then add butter, milk, pumpkin and raisins. Combine liquid and dry ingredients. Using greased muffin tins, fill 2/3s full and bake 15-20 minutes (up to 30 minutes, depending on muffin size) at 400F. Muffins are done when a tester, inserted in the middle, comes out with just a few crumbs attached (muffins will finish cooking out of the oven. Allow to cook, then remove from pans and prepare icing.

In a mixer bowl, combine:

1 cup (2 sticks) soften unsalted butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin, but not pumpkin pie filling)
4 cups powdered (10x) sugar)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk (for thinning icing –  if needed)

Mix until thoroughly combined and whipped. Using an icing bag fitted with either a 2D or star tip, frost muffins.

Chill, serve and enjoy.

Makes 2 dozen 2″ muffins, 48 1″ muffins, or over 70 2-bite mini-muffins.


Eating Lighter – even with dessert!

Swap out your “French Fries” for oven roasted sweet potatoes, steam up some carrots, asparagus, zucchini and squash, grill a London Broil to perfect pinky medium rare, slice fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for a refreshingly crisp and flavourful side dish, and make homemade mini-bundt cakelettes with a powdered sugar glaze.

Simple, quick (from start to finish, less than 45 minutes, and most of that is baking the cakelettes), and the food stretches amazingly. 3 large sweet potatoes serve 4 people, as does a nice 1.5 lb London Broil. A homemade recipe for chocolate cake (used in the mini bundt pan) makes 24 cakelettes, which serves 12.

The Hot Water Chocolate Cake recipe:

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk, scant
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Prepare your mini bundt pans by spraying with a non-stick spray that includes flour (alternatively, butter and dust with flour).  Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, stir together your dry ingredients (the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Contrary to other recipes, the sugar IS a dry ingredient in this recipe.) Add the wet: eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the boiling water. Don’t worry, this batter will be thin, but that’s okay. Fill the mini bundt wells about 3/4 full of the mixture. You should have just enough batter to fill all 24 wells, if you scrape down the bowl.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on  a wire rack to cool completely.


Boiled Custard with Blueberries

Boiled Custard with Blueberries

2 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 cups wild blueberries (if frozen, allow to thaw in a colander to prevent the juice from discolouring the custard)

Using a double boiler,  fill the lower pan 1/3 full of water and bring to a simmer. Pour milk into upper pot, and place over boiling water. Heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the milk. Stir in sugar, and continue to stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until light yellow but not frothy. Slowly dribble in about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the eggs, stirring with a whisk constantly. Once the eggs have been tempered, pass through a sieve to remove any coagulated egg particles, and then slowly mix the strained egg mixture into the remaining milk in the pan.
Mix together cornstarch and water; slowly stir into custard. Bring custard to a boil, and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Layer in glasses with blueberries.
Serves 2


Gingerbread with citrus sauce

Gingerbread (sauce recipe below)

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, again, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in the molasses until incorporated.

Dissolve the baking soda in the boiled water. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately w/ the boiling water. Mix only until blended, making sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon into a greased 9 inch pan and bake at 350 F 45-55 minutes (until cake tester comes out clean).

Cut into squares and serve warm w/ a lemon sauce (below).

Lemon (or lime, or orange) Sauce:

½ cup sugar
2 tbsp Corn Starch
1 cup water
¼ cup butter
1 tsp lemon peel (finely grated or lime or orange depending upon the citrus you are using just substitute it for the lemon)
¼ cup lemon (or lime, or orange) juice

In small pan bring water to a boil over medium heat. Add the sugar and cornstarch, stirring well to avoid lumps. Reduce heat and stir until mixture is thick and translucent (5 mins.).

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients until well mixed. Cool slightly and serve over the warm Gingerbread.