Welcome to my blog!

For years I’ve been known among family and friends for my various dishes, particularly desserts. So I’ve decided to start a blog to share some of the recipes and my adventures in cooking. Most of what I make is based on common recipes from the internet, cooking shows, etc. But like many, I customize them to make them uniquely my own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Raspberry Swirl

This is one of the first recipes I ever made out of the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook that my mom gave to me when I moved out on my own. It’s always been one of my favorites from that cookbook, it and the bread pudding recipe in it (I’ll post that recipe sometime in the future). The only change I’ve made is to add, surprise surprise, booze; Chamborg to be exact (with is a raspberry liqueur). This is perfect for the summer as it’s like an icecream version of cheesecake. Enjoy!

Raspberry Swirl

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp Chambord

Directions:

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1 tbsp sugar. Lightly press into a greased 11″ x 7″ pan.  Bake in a 375° oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

In a bowl beat the egg yolks at medium speed until light yellow and the consistency of mayo. Add in the cream cheese, sugar, and salt; beat until smooth.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Beat the heavy cream until it’s stiff. Fold in with the egg whites and then fold that into the cream cheese/egg yolk mixture.

Crush the raspberries (thaw if using frozen first). Add in the Chambord and stir. Gently swirl 1/2 through the cheese fillings. Spread on top of the graham cracker crust. Spoon the remaining raspberries on top. Freeze for at least 1 hour, longer is better. Let sit at room temp for  30 minutes before serving.

If you are going to store for longer than a couple of hours you should cover it with foil.

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Fruit Custard Tart

I got this recipe from a series of Italian cooking classes that I was lucky enough to take several years ago. You can use all sorts of different fruits for this, whatever you have on hand. I used Granny Smith apple this time but I’ve made this with raspberries, blueberries, etc. I also like to “soak” my fruit in a little liquor, whatever I have that’s the same flavor. In this case, a little apple schnapps, but I’ve also used Calvados (apple brandy). Enjoy!

Fruit Custard Tart

Dough:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg

Custard:

  • 2 large apples, sliced
  • 3 eggs, 2 yokes and 1 whole
  • 2 tbsp. apple liquor
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add in the cubes of butter and pulse until combined. It should look like peas. Add in the egg and extract and pulse until it has gathered. Press into a 9 1/2″ tart pan.

Place the apples over the dough in the tart pan. In a medium bowl add the egg, egg yolks, sugar, flour and beat in the cream. Pour over the apples and bake for 1 hour or until set. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Apple Hand Pies

As my blog tag line states, these are my experiments in the kitchen. This recipe definitely falls into that category! It is still very much a work in progress. Most recipes I post I’m in the process of making them as I’m writing up the blog post. This one is not one of those. In fact, I made it twice before I posted this recipe. And it’s still not perfect. I’m not completely satisfied, even though it turned out tasty.

OK, so I do like a challenge. One of the bartenders at one of my favorite waterholes is vegan. She was commenting on the fact that so few people make desserts that are vegan; even though there are a lot of alternatives for butter, eggs, and other dairy products. I gave it some thought, looked in my favorite cookbook, and found a pie crust that used vegetable shortening instead of butter or lard. Growing up in Spokane, WA. there was a bakery close to where we lived and made hand pies. You know, sort of like what Hostess makes. You could buy, and I’m seriously dating myself here, 6 for $1.00 (or that’s what I remember anyway). I thought this would be perfect, I’d make apple hand pies!

One thing I did learn from this is that unlike traditional pie crusts, where keeping it cold is ideal for a perfect crust, this one does not work that way. The first time I made it I tried keeping it cold, it cracked at every opportunity. The second time I started out with it cold but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. So I warmed it up and the dough stopped cracking. Unfortunately, it also didn’t come out flakey either, it was somewhat dry. Hence it is a work in progress, I’ll keep working at it. But it is nice to have a vegan dessert in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling:

  • 3 apples, I used granny smith
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 and 2
  • 4 tbsp Calvados*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Glaze:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados*

Directions:

To make the pie crust I use my Cuisinart food processor. Add in the flour and salt, pulse a couple of times to combines. Add in the vegetable shortening in little chunks. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse cornmeal or peas. Add in the water one tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine; until the dough holds together without cracking but isn’t moist. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.

For the filling; peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil and add in the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and Calvados. Saute until the apples just start to soften. Add in the corn starch and cook for another minute or so, until it thickens. Cool.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″. I used a 6″ biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Scoop 1 tbsp of the apple filling onto the dough, wet the edges, and fold it over. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  Bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and Calvados, beat until smooth. Drizzle over the hand pies once they’ve cooled.

*You can substitute apple juice for the Calvados (which is apple brandy) if you like.

Tres Leches Cake

So this recipe was a request, no more like a demand, from someone I know. I decided, even though they were being a pain, to make it for them anyway. For once I didn’t really modify the recipe other than changing the frosting. The original called for a simple powdered sugar frosting. I figured, this being a Mexican cake, that it deserved a Dulce de Leche frosting instead. Turned out really good, according to those who got to eat it. Be warned, this cake is moist! Enjoy!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:

  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp real vanilla, divided equally
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup Dulce de leche
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper and spay the paper. This makes taking the cake out super easy.

Take the separated eggs and using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they form soft peaks. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the sugar until combined. Turn it back up to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the egg yolks until light yellow and the consistency of mayo (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 tbsp vanilla and mix to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and with a spatula gently fold in to combine. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites too much.

Shift together the flour and salt. Gently fold in the flour a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Again you don’t want to deflate the eggs too much, this is what is going to give your cake lift and make it light.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but not wet. Allow it to cool. Using a platter or cutting board turn the cake out by placing it on top of the pan and flipping it over. Thanks to the parchment it should come right out but you may need a knife to loosen the sides. Remove the parchment and flip it back onto the baking pan. Use a skewer or fork and poke a lot of holes all over the cake. This will help it absorb the milk mixture.

In a bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk with 1 tbsp of vanilla. Pour it all over the cake. It’s best to let it sit overnight to soak up all the milk.

In another bowl, beat together the butter and Dulce de Leche until smooth. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another minute. With the mixer on low add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Frost the cake once all the sugar is added and enjoy!

 

Lemon Bars

So one of my coworkers was quite upset when she found out I made the lemon pound cake and didn’t bring any into work. Now it partly my fault, I have spoiled my coworker by bringing in a lot of what I make and post on this blog. And to be fair, she LOVES lemons; to the point that she eats lemon slices all the time. To make it up to her, and because she recently had a bad one, I decided to make lemon bars. This recipes is a slightly modified version of the America’s Test Kitchen’s version. To be honest, while it turned out, I’ll probably double the recipe the next time I make it. I thought the bars were really thin. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, zested & juiced

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, 3 whole and 3 yolks only
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted cutter, cut into pieces (about 8)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and make sure the rack is in the middle position. Make a foil sling for an 8″ square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is as wide as the pan. Lay the sheets into the pan, so they form a cross. Press into the pan, up the sides, and fold the extra over. This will help you take it out when it’s done.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and whisk together. Add the melted butter and the zest of 2 lemons. Press into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotate after 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking; whisk together 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp flour, cream of tartar, and salt. I do this in a medium sized pot. Add in the eggs and whisk until there are no streaks. Add in the remaining lemon zest and juice; you should have 2/3 cup of juice. It really depends on the size of your lemons.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers at 160°. If you don’t have a candy thermometer I highly recommend getting one. Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time until completely incorporated.

By this time your crust should be done. Pour the lemon through a fine strainer into the pan with the crust. This will make sure there are no lumps. Bake until set, about 10 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is shaken. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Use the foil sling to get it out of the pan. I found it was pretty delicate so be careful. To get it off the foil I placed a piece of parchment paper on top and then a square platter on top of that. Flipped it over, removed the foil, and then flipped it over again onto a cutting board. Remove the paper and cut into squares, cleaning the knife between cuts to prevent sticking. Dust with the powdered sugar and serve.

Lemon Pound Cake

So I was having dinner with a couple of friends and since they were doing the cooking I figured I’d make dessert. Plus it’s really my specialty. I asked them what do you want? The answer, lemon pound cake. I was like, ok. I just made the key lime pound cake so making this kind of cake was pretty fresh in my memory. I consulted my good friend, Google, found a couple of recipes and decided on this on. With some modification, of course. And for the frosting, I really like a cream cheese frosting. Since this was lemon, I decided to bump it up several notches. I added in a little lemon curd, which I had leftover from making my Limoncello cake recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Directions:

Shift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest in the lemon.  In a mixer, I like to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar. Mix until combined and again, fluffy. With the speed still lowered, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until well combined. Add in the extracts and lemon juice, which should be about 1/4 cup of juice. Add in the flour mixture and mix until it’s just combined, don’t over mix it our the cake will come out too dense and tough.

Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the center clean.

Frosting

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (you can find the recipe here)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

In a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add in the lemon curd and beat again until smooth. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar, beat until smooth. Frost the loaf of cake and refrigerate. This frosting is somewhat loose but very tasty.

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

So I wanted something to take to a party recently. As raspberries are in season, I thought, lets make something with them. I’ve had this recipes in my to do pile for about 7 years. I thought now is a good time to give it a try. The only change, really, that I made to the original recipe was to add both Chambord liqueur and fresh raspberries. The original only called for raspberry jam. They turned out super moist and gooey, delicious. Enjoy!

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (divided 1/4 and 1 1/4)
  • 1 egg yolk plus 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries (don’t use frozen)
  • 4 tbsp Chambord liqueur (divided 2, 1, 1 tbsp)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray an 8″ square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. I like to line mine with parchment paper to make it easier to get the brownies out. You can also use foil but it you do make sure to spray the foil as well.

Beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp Chambord until smooth. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a microwave-safe bowl and nuke the chocolate and butter until smooth and melted; use 20 second increments to do this. Whisk in 1/4 cup of raspberry jam and 2 tbsp Chambord until smooth. Add in the remaining sugar, eggs and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined, you don’t want to over mix it.  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the baking pan.

Take the remaining raspberry jam and nuke it for about 20 seconds. Add in the fresh raspberries and remain tbsp. of Chambord. Gently stir to combine, you don’t want to crush the fresh raspberries too much.

Dollop the cream cheese filling over the brownie batter and gently spread out, try to create an even layer. On top of that dollop the jam mixture randomly across the top of the cream cheese. Cover with the remaining brownie batter and gently spread out evenly. Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out fairly clean.

Coconut Chocolate Pie

I made this recipe as a follow up for my Hawaiian friend who had a birthday. I figured, why only celebrate once? It was one of the recipes suggested by my friend, Google. I only modified it slightly. Instead of using a store bought pie crust, I used the recipe I’ve posted before in my Dutch Apple pie for the crust.  I really liked that the coconut flavor was subtle, not in your face. Enjoy!

 

Coconut Chocolate Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme de cocoa liqueur, divided in half

Directions:

Bake the pie crust in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. You want to poke the bottom and sides with a fork first.  I weight mine down with parchment paper and some old dried beans. This prevents it from puffing up but can take longer to bake. Allow to cool completely.

In a medium pan; whisk together the milk, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to low. Combine the corn starch and cold water, I like to use a jar for this. Shake well until it’s mixed (no lumps of cornstarch). Slowly pour into the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue stirring until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Use a microwave safe bowl and nuke the chocolate in 20 second interval, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add in 1/2, or 2 Tbsp, of the cocoa liqueur.

Divide the milk mixture evenly, I like to use 2 identical liquid measuring cups for this. Add the chocolate to one of them. Pour one of the mixtures into the cooled pie shell and smooth out. The original recipe called for the chocolate first but I missed that and poured the coconut first, I don’t think it really matters but I liked the light/dark/light layering. Pour the second mixture and gently smooth out. Refrigerate for at least an hour, longer is better.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once cold, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and remaining cocoa liqueur and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the pie and serve.

Dulce de Leche Pie

So I was requested (more like a demand) that I make a Dulce de Leche recipe. I was pretty sure what was wanted was actually a tres leches cake but that’s another story (turned out I was right). I’ve modified it a bit, like most recipes I make, and I think it turned out pretty good (or so I heard since I didn’t get any). The original recipe called for white chocolate and I didn’t think that really paired well with the leche. The crust is based on the recipe I posted earlier for dark cocoa cookies. Just let them dry out for a day or too. And an added bonus? There’s not baking involved. Enjoy!

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Dulce de Leche pie

Crust:

  • 14 to 16 oz of dark cocoa cookies, crushed (amount depends on your pie tin size)
  • 8 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:

  • 10 Oz chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup dulce de leche (I make my own)

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate vodka or liqueur (optional)

Directions:

Pulse the cookies in a food processor until fine. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into a pie tin and press firmly into the button and up the sides to create a thick crust. Chill.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate by nuking for 20 seconds at a time; stirring in-between until it’s completely melted and smooth. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth. Add the dulce de leche and beat again, until smooth.

Take the bowl out of the freezer and beat the heavy cream until it starts to form peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese/chocolate/leche mixture until well combined. Pout into the pie shell and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until set.

Before serving; put a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Add the powdered sugar and chocolate vodka, if using, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the set pie and serve.

Lilikoi Bars

A friend of mine recently had a birthday. She’s the tasting room manager for Rotie Cellars, one of the best wineries in Washington if I may say so. I stopped by the weekend of her birthday and brought key lime pound cake (a recipe I previously posted). Unfortunately she was off enjoying herself. So I decided to make her something special for when she returned. Being Hawaiian, I figured a Hawaiian dessert was in order. My friend Google suggested several things but I liked this dessert. It’s similar to a lemon bar but is made with lilikoi, which is passion fruit. I had no idea what a challenge it would be! I had to go to at 7 different stores in Seattle that where known for Hawaiian foods. The first 5 had nothing, the 6th had passion fruit from concentrate in a can and finally the 7th had frozen passion fruit juice with seeds. It turned out really well and needless to say my friend was really touched. Enjoy!

Lilikoi Bars

Crust

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt

Filling

  • 6 large eggs at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup lilikoi (passion fruit) juice, fresh would be best but good luck finding it.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 Tsp cream of tartar

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lilikoi juice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the flour and salt and add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Dump the dough into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and press it along the bottom and about 1/2″ up the sides.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove to cool slightly (leave the oven on). While it’s cooling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lilikoi juice, lemon zest & juice, cream of tartar, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set. A knife inserted in the middle should come out fairly clean. Allow to cool.

To make the glaze, bring the 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lilikoi and lemon juice, boil for another 3 minutes. Allow to cool and drizzle over the lilikoi bars.