Browsing Category

Baked Goods

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. ūüôā

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog Рwith its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors Рgo so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd РI am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

September 28, 2021

Happy Fall, friends! It is peak apple season here in New Hampshire and like the rest of New England we can’t get enough. ¬†I keep buying huge bags from my favorite local farmer (where I get my eggs, vegetables and flowers all summer) and I have to go back and get more because we’ve eaten them all.

I have some healthy recipes for you coming, but I thought I would just start with this Apple Cake that originated in the NY Times Cooking section and found its way to Alexandra Cooks, and then into my kitchen with our twins. They love to cook! We make a lot of muffins and cookies, but they got very excited when I asked if they wanted to make Apple Cake. We have no idea who Teddie is though.

I really wanted to try it because it sounded similar to the blueberry cake I posted about last summer that was a recipe my mother in law makes often for family get togethers. I have really grown to love how a fruit cake is just as good with coffee in the morning as it is with ice cream for desert. And that is just what Alexander said she loved about this cake too.

Turns out it is fall in a slice of cake.

So moist, sweet, and filled with the warm spices of cinnamon. And I added a twist from what what we love about the blueberry cake which is to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. It makes it slightly crunchy with a sugary cinnamon crust. I highly recommend.

As I was making this I thought of a ton of variations – it would be so easy to triple this recipe and put it on a big sheet pan to feed a crowd. It would also be great with a drizzle of a maple frosting, but it is so simple and moist on its own and really lets the apples shine.

This recipe made me want to invite neighbors over and sit down and chat and drink coffee. It is the perfect thing to make for a neighbor or a get together (still so glad we have those now! I don’t take them for granted!). ¬†Or just make it for your crew for dessert.

Teddie’s Cinnamon Apple Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups(384 g) flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cupsvegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar (+2 Tablespoons for topping)
  • 3eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (+ 1/2 teaspoon for topping)
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples, I used Cortland & they were great*
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I omit)
  • 1 cup raisins (I omit)
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

*Alexandra used a mix of¬†Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, York and Cameo with success ‚ÄĒ use whatever you have on hand or whatever variety you prefer to bake with.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins (if using) and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.  Mix together the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons sugar and sprinkle it over the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Recipe from NY Times via Alexandra Cooks.

Smokey Croque Monsieur

September 15, 2021

Last week I took out the last of our cheese bread from Riley’s Market that I bought on our last trip to Pemaquid. This bread is legendary. It is the perfect combination of fluffy white bread that is almost like challah or brioche, and it gets craggy (is that a word?) when you cut into it, and when the little craggy bits sticking out get toasted they yield the perfect crunchy bite with the softness of the doughy bread. On top of that, there is sharp cheddar cheese swirled throughout the bread. The little spots melt a bit when they are toasted, and well you all know how good melted cheese is. I might just have to work on a recipe for this bread. In the mean time, I thought about what I could do with this beauty.

One of my favorite things to do with challah is to make french toast (especially with egg nog at the holidays – my husbands favorite breakfast!) so I thought about making a savory french toast which led to croque monsieurs.

I wanted to put a twist on it, and when I saw smoked gruyere at the store, I knew it would match so well with smokey ham.

Guess what?

It really did. These were delicious – I know all croque monsieurs are, with their wonderful mix of textures and creaminess and toasted bread and you can’t go wrong with the original. But these had their own character and made me think this would also be delicious with smoked gouda or any smoked cheese, and those might even be easier to find, so don’t hesitate if you go that route.

These sandwiches are very easy to make, with a basic b√©chamel sauce the only ‘cooking’ necessary. It comes together so easily, and the melted cheese in it just adds to the smokey creaminess.

It is just basic assembly after that, and it is one of those dishes that is very simple but the combination makes something magical. The hit from the Dijon mustard is also the best kick and makes these mouthwatering.

Don’t worry if you can’t find cheese bread – these ingredients will be delicious with any white bread. And there will be plenty of cheese either way.

This hot and gooey sandwich came out of the oven and my family was hovering around it, waiting to dive in. It is easy enough for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special meal too. They are great for parties with tiny bread or cut into fourths.

I hope you try these and love them! Or put your own spin on it – use smoked turkey, or add your favorite veg like spinach or kimchi so that it feels like a reuben. Or just stick with the classic which is classic for a reason.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Smokey Croque Monsieur

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch nutmeg

12 ounces Smoked Gruyere or Smoked Gouda, grated (5 cups)

(Note: the original calls for ¬Ĺ cup parmesan but I omitted to keep it smoked)

16 slices white sandwich bread

Dijon mustard

8 ounces baked or black forest ham, sliced but not paper thin

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter/flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated smoked Gruyere. (Note: if making the original add the ¬Ĺ cup parmesan).
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

 

 

Pane Cotta

January 15, 2019

I first saw this dish called Pane Cotta on the author Jane Green’s Instagram page – she had it at a restaurant and it was so good she went home and made it and posted a rough recipe of it! It translates¬†to Baked Bread, it‚Äôs an Italian peasant meal (read: rustic and delicious).¬†

This was one of the most original things I’ve eaten lately, with totally surprising flavors and textures that worked so well together. The braised escarole mixed with the pancetta and leeks were all somewhat delicate, then mixed with the sharp saltiness of the melted cheese, the meatiness of the white beans (you can use any kind here) and cubes of herby, garlicky bread…

The recipe calls for herbs and garlic and it’s really forgiving – I just sprinkled on some garlic salt, olive oil, and thyme. While the bread is toasting, everything else cooks in the same pan. First you cook some pancetta, then in the same pan you add some butter and some leeks…

Then you braise some escarole in chicken broth, and add some white beans…

Then the thing that really ties the whole dish together is the cheese. I tasted it a little with just parm, and just asiago, then with both of them together, and I liked them combined. But don’t let having only one kind of cheese keep you from making this because its just delicious.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the best part! My kids loved it. This seems like it should be a grown up dish, but really its just a twist on things kids love anyway – bread and cheese. If your kid won’t touch anything green, then I can’t speak for them, but mine will and they asked for seconds.

Like many peasant dishes, it was meant to use up left overs, and I think that is what this dish will be for my kitchen – an amazing way to use up a loaf of bread that is starting to get hard. But really it is nice enough to bring to a pot luck or serve for company, or just to have a nice side dish for a roast over the weekend.

Hope you try this soon, it is such a special dish, and will transport you to Italy for a minute or five, I promise.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Pane Cotta (printer version here):

Ingredients:

3 cups day-old bread, torn up into crouton sized pieces

2 T. olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Fresh herbs, salt and pepper

8 oz. pancetta, diced

2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)

2 T. butter

1 head of escarole, rinsed and torn into small pieces

1 cup chicken stock

1 can white beans, rinsed

1 cup of parmesan and/or asiago (I used ¬Ĺ cup of each)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Place bread on cookie sheet, and toss with olive oil, garlic salt (or minced garlic), fresh herbs if desired, salt and pepper.

While that bakes, cook pancetta on medium high heat until browned, then remove and set aside. Place butter in same pan, and add sliced leeks. Saute until soft, then remove from pan and set aside (can put them on same plate as pancetta). Add escarole with a cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for a few minutes until escarole is soft. Mix in a can of rinsed white beans, and add all the other ingredients (bread, pancetta, leeks, etc) to the same pan. Top with grated parmesan and/or asiago cheese, and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

 

Peach Brioche Bread Budding

September 13, 2017

Peach season is winding down, and you may be looking for ideas on how to use up the last of your bushel (if you haven’t already eaten every last one in its wonderful naked form). ¬†This dish marries two of my favorite things: seasonal¬†fruit and bread¬†pudding.

I fell in love with bread pudding after trying it at some of the quintessential New England restaurants in the area. If you have never tried this rich, comforting dessert, I would try to rectify that¬†immediately. Once I learned how easy (and frugal) bread pudding¬†was to make I was hooked. Don’t let the title ‘Peach Brioche’ slow you down AT ALL because you can use any good bread that you were smart enough to throw in your freezer or that you have on hand that is stale – french bread, sour dough, challah. All good. Typically recipes require the bread to be stale so that it soaks up the milk/cream/egg mixture better. It seems to be the perfect consistency when it has been in the freezer for a few months too.

I got into the habit of grabbing a loaf of brioche whenever I saw it at the store because it makes the best french toast¬†–¬†I love having a loaf in the freezer. So when I saw this recipe for bread pudding¬†from a farm up north (that I can’t remember the name of, sorry farm!), I knew I wanted to make it with brioche even though they suggested french bread or sour dough. This decision did not disappoint – the brioche made it so velvety, rich and decadent, I would go for it every time.

But bread pudding is so flexible that use whatever bread vehicle¬†you have on hand. In that spirit, when I¬†went to make this¬†I realized I didn’t have whole milk or cream, which really¬†make the dish so rich, thick and custard-like. But betting on how flexible¬†bread pudding is I went ahead and just used the milk I had in the fridge (skim or 1%). It was still so so good, soft and fluffy with just milk, so don’t let a lack of cream stop you from making it either.

The star of the dish though is fresh peaches. Our neighbor gave us so many we couldn’t eat them fast enough.

I love how the maple syrup and cinnamon are such light, subtle notes in this dish. I would never have though to pair them with peaches and yet they all have such a mellow, delicate, sweet perfumes that they help elevate this dish. Feel free to adjust the maple syrup to more or less depending on how sweet you like it (or just serve it with some on the side and eaters can adjust to their preference).

If you don’t make it in time for peach season, the fruit in this dish is very versatile – try pears and cranberries with perhaps white sugar as the sweetener, or plums and brown sugar, or even bananas and caramel or chocolate. But if you still have peaches, trust that this dish¬†does¬†justice to this fruit¬†season that closes out summer and ushers in fall.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Peach Brioche Bread Pudding (printer version here):

Ingredients:

Brioche, French, or Sourdough Bread, cubed  (about 8 cups)

3 c. peaches, peeled and cut into chunks

8 eggs

3/4 c. maple syrup 

2 c. whole milk (can use skim or 2% it will just be less creamy)

1/2 c heavy cream (can replace with milk it will just be less creamy)

Dash of cinnamon

Crumble Topping:

3/4 c. flour

3/4 c. maple or lt brown sugar

¬Ĺ t. cinnamon

1 stick butter, cut into small cubes

 

Directions:

Grease bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Line bottom with cubes of bread crumbs. Lay peaches on top.

Mix together all wet ingredients: eggs, maple syrup, milk, cream, and cinnamon. Pour over top of bread and peaches. Soak all night, or 4-6 hours if necessary.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. While it is cooking mix together crumble topping: flour, light brown sugar or maple sugar, cinnamon, and butter cubes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add crumble topping.  Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with extra maple syrup if desired, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.