Tag Archives: dessert

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.


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.


Apple Bundles

Apple Bundles

The Pastry
4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chilled solid shortening, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup ice water (more, as needed)
The Apple Filling
8 small, tart apples (2 1/2 inches in diameter),peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup packed light brown sugar (divided)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tbsp whole milk or half and half
The Sauce
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup hot water
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp Apple Brandy (or, use Apple Juice, or, 2 tbsp water plus 1/8 tsp almond extract)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Position rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or coat with spray.

To make the pastry: in a large bowl stir together the flour and salt. Add the shortening. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir the almond extract into 3/4 cup of ice water. Drizzle this over the flour mixture. Toss with a fork or mix with your fingers until well incorporated and the mixture holds together. If needed, add a bit more ice water a tbsp at a time over the mixture until it holds together when pressed with your fingertips. It should not be dry. Knead until smooth. Divide dough in half. Shape dough portions into 3 x 8 inch logs. Roll out one of the dough logs between sheets of parchment or waxed paper until 12 inches wide and about 12 1/2 inches long. You may have to patch the dough to make the edges of the rectangles even. Roll out any creases on the underside of the dough. Peel off the top sheet of paper gently, then pat back into place. Flip the dough, and peel off the bottom sheet. Trim if necessary, to remove uneven edges. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise to form 6 inch squares. Repeat the process with the second dough portion.

To assemble the Apple Bundles peel the pastry squares from the paper one at a time and lay on a clean sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Center a portion of the apple mixture up in the center of each pastry square. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of brown sugar on each and top with a piece of the butter. Put more apple on top and pull the 4 corners of the pastry up and around the apple filling. Pinch the 4 seams together firmly so the apple is secured within. Trim away excess dough from the sides. Repeat with the remaining pastry and apples. Arrange in a baking dish.

You can use dough scraps cut into simple shapes to decorate the top of your bundles. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush each of the bundles with milk.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bundles are browned and the apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Cover with foil if you notice the dough is browning too rapidly during the final 10 to 15 minutes of baking (also, sprinkle with some Demerara sugar for an extra special effect) .

To make the sauce, stir together the brown sugar, hot water, butter, lemon juice, Apple Brandy or Apple Juice along with the cinnamon in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir over medium heat, bringing to a gentle boil. Continue to boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. The sauce will be of a thin consistency. Drizzle half the sauce over the bundles as soon as you remove them from the oven. Allow them to stand for an hour prior to serving. Place the remaining sauce in a small dish to serve with the Apple Bundles.

Yields 8 servings


Crème Brulé

Crème Brulé

6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream or 18% coffee cream
1/2 tsp. good-quality vanilla (I used Madagascar vanilla bean paste, in which you can see the teeny seeds from the vanilla pod)
sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in the cream and vanilla.

Divide among 6 small ramekins, and put them into a roasting pan or 9″x13″ pan; pour water in so that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This will sort of insulate them so that they cook gently and evenly.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the custards are set but still just slightly jiggly in the middle (you’ll get a feel for this!). Take them out, let them cool and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, until nice and cold.

Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over each dish and caramelize with a torch or transfer to a cookie sheet and place under the broiler in the oven for about 2 minutes, just until the sugar is caramelized and golden. Turn the sheet around, if you need to, to help them caramelize evenly. Refrigerate again, or just let them sit on the countertop while you eat dinner or make coffee, just until the sugar is set and crackly.

Serves 6.


Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoons good quality brandy
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil.

Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and brandy and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, sift flour and soda together, add in increments with the mixer on low until just combined. Remove paddle and scrape down. Using a spatula, mix in cranberries and white chocolate chips. Using two tablespoons, drop healing teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. It’s okay for the cookies to look slightly undercooked when you remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool, on the foil, for 3-4 minutes, then using a spatula, transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely (they will crisp up slightly as they cool).

Makes 20-24 cookies.