Category Archives: Dessert

ABC

Apple Basil Cake

Apple Basil Cake

Welcome to my Secret Recipe Club post for October!  This month I was sent over to LeAndra’s Love and Flour  – a blogger with a taste for the sweeter things in life.  For a hot moment I debated trying one of her many savory treats, but then realized that would be cheating and so I happily went off to explore all the potential treats.  I was immediately drawn to her Apple Basil Cake, featuring seasonal apples and fresh basil it was an easy pick.  Though her cheescake muffins with homemade vanilla wafers deserves an honorable mention as they look insanely delicious and easy – after all she calls them a “cheatcake” which is one of the best nicknames ever.   The only change I made to the recipe was switching the Granny Smiths for Crispins as that’s what my farmer’s market had, which is a taste preference as either apple (or my usual favorite Pink Lady) would be perfect for this cake.

ABC

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp packed basil (used a mix of sweet and Italian)
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups Pink Lady apples, diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and basil in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Beat the oil and sugar together on low speed until mixed.
  3. Increase to medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 7 minutes.
  4. Return to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture until blended, then fold in the apples.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch bundt pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the middle of the ring.

Notes

I've been switching to longer beating times following a recipe of "Mind of the Chef" and so far it seems to result in a lighter batter!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/abc.html

I brought this cake over to a family lunch gathering where it was a MASSIVE hit with only one slice making it back to our house.  I skipped the glaze for fear of it not traveling well and simply topped it with some powdered sugar as an easy cheat.  The apples were crisp and the basil provided the perfect contrast to the sweetness resulting in perfection.   We served the cake as dessert, but would also make a great treat for a brunch or tea as the sweetness is  (thankfully) not the dominant feature of the cake.  All of the apples came from Pong’s Orchard which is owned and operated by one of the sweetest families ever – I’m going to be beyond sad when our market ends in a few weeks.

I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their apple challenge as a replacement for the mulligatawny soup that I made and never photographed.  This is a cake that deserves to be shared and loved by as many people as possible – but what do you expect when it comes from a blog named LOVE and Flour!

Could Cry

Hi everyone!  I wrote this post back in April for Jane of The Heritage Cook.  Things have been a bit rough over here so sharing this now while we attempt to get back on our feet :-) Huge thanks to our family and friends who have helped us out during this not so pleasant adventure.  Will most likely write something up about that soon as well but not quite there yet.  
Hi!  I’m Amanda E and I can normally be found blogging about vegetarian dishes over at DancingVeggies.  I’m in the Secret Recipe Club with Jane, and with that have been following her for a few years now – which is why I jumped at the opportunity to write a guest post.  While I normally stick to the healthier recipes, the crazy weather here in the mid-Atlantic has driven me to the sweeter side of life.
S'More Pie
This past weekend we watched as the weather went from 60 and rainy to below freezing and snowing in a matter of hours – typical for February but not the tale end of March.  Since we weren’t exactly expecting snow at the end of March, all of our firewood was outside which resulted in a minor panic.  See, I’m not a fan of snow and the only positive I can find about winter weather is the excuse to build a fire indoors and make S’mores!  I needed my chocolate marshmallow fix but had no way to safely prepare the marshmallows since we are currently living microwave-free.  In my panic I started rummaging thru the pantry before finding a box of pudding tucked away behind my backup flour.  I then realized what needed to be done – I needed to prepare a S’more pie.  So I got out all my ingredients and set to assembling all my goodies, with the added excitement of being able to show this pie off to the company joining us for dinner.
 
Guest Post

Serves: Yields 1 10inch Pie

6-8

Ingredients

  • 10 full size graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or earth balance, melted
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk (dairy or coconut - almond milk will not set!)
  • 1/2 bag marshmallows (I used Dandies), cut in half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Break the graham crackers in quarters and place in blender along with melted butter. Blend until the crackers form small (pencil eraser) sized crumbs. Press the crumbs in to the bottom of an 10inch pie or tart pan.
  3. Blind bake for 15 minutes, crust will solidify and turn a rich caramel shade. Set aside to cool
  4. Once crust has reached room temperature begin preparing the pudding per instructions. After whisking for 2 minutes quickly pour the mixture in to the pre-baked crust before it fully set. Place in fridge for one hour.
  5. Gently press the marshmallows in to the partially set pie crust then place in fridge for a final hour.
  6. Remove pie from the fridge. Carefully use a brulee torch to brown (or blacken) the marshmallows to your desired "doneness".
  7. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/08/could_cry.html
In the future I would hunt down a creme brulee torch (or blow-torch) in order to fully char the marshmallows but we had to work with what we had and it worked out.  I made sure to char a few for my hubby while leaving the rest just slightly cooked per guests’ requests.  In the end, we had the awesome combination of s’mores without the hassle of drying out wood.  Even better is this pie insures that the goodness of s’mores can continue in to the summer months – which is as it should be.
Thanks Jane for letting me do a guest post on your amazing blog!

The Past Unspoken

Chocolate Stuffed Muffins

Chocolate Stuffed Muffin

Oh, chocolate – you are amazing.  Which is why I was rather thrilled to see that Random Recipes - hosted by the fantastic Dom of Belleau Kitchen along with the Chocolate Log Blog (cuz chocolate!!!) -  was going chocolate this month, in addition to the normal rules.  I only have two dedicated dessert books, but found that a number of my books had at least one chocolate recipe tucked away.  In the end a non-dessert book won out, and with that these delicious chocolate filled muffins from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes.  I did make a slight adjustment to the recipe, as the basic muffin directions called for zest which is something I avoid due to an allergy.  I also decided to go with milk chocolate chips, while the original recipe didn’t say one way or another.

The Past Unspoken

Serves: Yields 12 Standard Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line or grease 12 standard sized muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set Aside
  3. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then mix in the buttermilk followed by the melted butter. Quickly mix in to the dry ingredients, mixing until just wet.
  4. Spoon 1 full tbsp of batter into muffin tin, then place 4-5 chips in the middle and top with another full tbsp of batter.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffins are brown. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to the cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/the-past-unspoken.html

The best thing about this recipe is that the technique can be used for making other types of filled/stuffed muffins.  I could see pieces of fruit, jam, or caramel (!) doing rather nicely in this delicious muffin – or being really naughty and putting brownie or cookie dough in the middle!  If I was to do chocolate again I would probably use something more like a chocolate nugget as the chips didn’t really give it as much chocolate as I was expecting – or use a chocolate spread like Nutella!

Been Waiting

Poached Cinnamon Caramel Apples

Poached Apples

Poaching is nothing to new to me, at least not anymore.  Which is why when I first saw poaching as the theme for /52weeksofcooking I really wasn’t that worried.  Until I tried to figure out something to poach that: 1) was vegetarian and 2) I hadn’t poached before.  This eliminated a fair amount of things, so I started checking out my cook books to see if any of them could offer insight.  In doing so I found more than a few recipes for poached pears, which I’m not a fan of, but realized I could use that same concept on apples.  Unsure of how they would turn out I grabbed three varieties at the store: granny smith, honeycrisps, and pink ladies – figuring I would test them all and see what worked the best.

Been Waiting

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 Pink Lady Apples (or Granny Smith), cored and sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp caramel syrup (I used torani)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring the liquid to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the flesh of the apple is soft.
  2. Remove the apples using a slotted spoon (or pasta scoop) and place over (or in) your desired meal.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/been-waiting.html

In the end the pink ladies won for me – the skin stayed crisp while the flesh was moist and delicious.  Plus it still had the same tart/sweet contrast as the granny smiths, which become all soft.  The honeycrisps were just a disaster, falling apart in the pan and having to be skimmed out…which was a total pain. I served the pink ladies over oatmeal (pictured), while the granny smiths topped a mini-dutch baby.