Pickled Mushrooms

Now this one may seem odd to a lot of people. Growing up my Mom would make pickled mushrooms all the time. I loved them! Unfortunately, like a lot of things she used to make when I was growing up, she didn’t have the recipes written down. So when she passed they were lost to me. Recently I had a hankering for them so I turned to my friend Google for help. I found a recipe that I kind of liked and thought was close and then modified it. The thing with the mushrooms that my Mom would make was that they had  a kick to them, they were spicy! But not cayenne spicy per se, more a shit ton of garlic spicy.

So I gave it a whack, waiting 30 days and then tried them. I’ll tell you I was disappointed and thought I’d have to try again. So I put them back in the refrigerator and forgot about them for a couple more month. Well this last week I was needing to clear out space to stock up on groceries, and no I was not hoarding! So I pulled them out and was going to dump them. But before I did so, I gave them another try. Oh so much better! I clearly had not let them set long enough the first time I tried them. They are pretty close to what my Mom used to make. Enjoy!

 

Pickled Mushrooms

  • 2 – 3 pounds of mushrooms, I used crimini and the smaller the better
  • 3 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 bulb of garlic (or so)
  • 4 pint jars with lids or 2 quart jars with lids, sterilized

Directions:

If you got small mushrooms you’re set, if they’re on the large side you’ll want to halve or quarter them so they fit in your jars. Make sure they’re clean and there is no residual dirt.

In a large pot combine the vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Once it’s come to a boil reduce it to low and add in your mushrooms. simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

While they are simmering, divide the bay leaves, peppercorns, chili flakes, and garlic equally between your jars. I cut my garlic into chunks for more surface exposure.

Add in the mushrooms until the jars are full, use a chop stick or spoon handle to poke them down and as you fill the jars up with the liquid from the pot until the jars are almost full and have no air bubbles. Allow to cool before refrigerating. They’re good in 30 days or wait longer for more full flavored mushrooms. Enjoy!

 

Raspberry Layer Fudge

This was another recipe that I came across where the final product looked delicious. However, in making it; it was a huge pain! But it was delicious even if it wasn’t as pretty as I’d like. The problem is the original recipe had you layering and swirling and it just didn’t work. The chocolate and the raspberry would just blend together. If I make it again I’ll do one layer and a time, refrigerating between to make them set. None of the swirling. It’s very tasty though. The only modification I made was to add a little framboise brandy to heighten the raspberry flavor. Enjoy!

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Raspberry Layer Fudge

  • 12 oz while chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 12 Oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pureed raspberries
  • 2 tbsp. framboise
  • 2 tbsp. water (divided)

Directions:

Puree the raspberries with the framboise in a blended. Refrigerate until it’s thickened, about 30 minutes.

Line a 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Put the chocolate and white chocolate in to two microwavable bowls with half of the condensed milk and water in each. Nuke for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in-between, until completely melted and smooth.

Add 1/2 of the chocolate and smooth out. Then add 1/2 of the raspberries and smooth out. Add 1/2 of the white chocolate and, you guessed it, smooth it out. Repeat. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Use the parchment paper hanging over the sides to lift it out. Peal it off and cut it into squares and enjoy!

No Bake Chocolate Tart

It’s not often that I will try making a recipe that’s specifically labeled “healthy”. Let alone one that is vegan, gluten free, and paleo! All of those, at least in my mind, make the dish sound tasteless. But I do try to keep an open mind and get over myself. So when I came across this recipe I almost went next but the picture that accompanied the recipe made me stop. It looked absolutely delicious. So I looked it over and all of the ingredients seemed good and figured I’d give it a try. I was really looking for something that was dairy free at the time and can always use a gluten free dessert as well. I will say that I did modify the original recipe slightly. Who ever wrote it was either using commercial equipment or lied. It looks really dense, like a flourless chocolate cake but it actually is pretty light. Enjoy!

No Bake Chocolate Tart

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 oz dark chocolate, melted (use good quality)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup lot water
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate liqueur (I used chocolate whiskey)
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Filling:

  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut cream (make sure you get cream, not milk)
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate liqueur (I used chocolate whiskey)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract

Topping:

  • Fresh berries
  • whipped cream (I used coconut whipped cream)

Directions:

Put the dates in a bowl with the hot water and liqueur and allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. In your food processor, pulse the almonds until fine. Add in the dates and pulse again until well combined. Add in the melted chocolate, coconut oil, and salt. Pulse until well combined. Press into a 9″ round tart pan, I greased mine with a little coconut oil so it would come out easier. Allow to chill for 30 minutes.

Clean your food processor. In a microwave proof bowl, heat the coconut cream, chocolate and coconut oil until completely melted and smooth. About 30 seconds at a time, stir, repeat. Add the dates to your food processor and pulse until smooth. Add in the chocolate/coconut mixture and pulse again until completely smooth. Fill the chilled tart shell and chill again until set, about 2 hours.

Before serving top with berries and whipped cream. I also dusted a little powdered sugar and some additional grated chocolate. Enjoy!

Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

This recipe intrigued me. It contains several things I love; cheddar, bacon, jalapenos, and beer. And it was super easy to make! The jalapenos add a subtle flavor and not really any heat to it. So if you like it hot you’ll want to up the amount you put in. Enjoy!

 

Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 6 slices of crispy bacon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 1/4 cups grated cheddar
  • 1 12oz beer (I used a brown ale)
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. I lined mine with parchment paper as well, then re-sprayed; this makes taking the loaf out super easy.

In a large bowl; sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, cumin, and sugar. Add in the bacon jalapeno and cheese. Pour in the beer and mix until just combined, don’t over mix it! Spoon into the loaf pan and pour the melted butter over the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean from the center.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Lemon Sheet Cake

OK so I had a bunch of lemons left over after making the Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies that I posted earlier. I was trying to decide what to do with them when I came across this recipe. I modified it slightly, changed the frosting from a simple lemon glaze to a cream cheese/butter frosting. It’s quick and easy to make and serves a lot of people. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Sheet Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice (or Limoncello)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and spray a cookie sheet with raised sides with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder & soda, salt, and the zest of 1 lemon.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time until combined. You’ll need to scrap down the bowl at least once. Add in the vanilla.

Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice. If you have extra save it, you can use it in the frosting.

Add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, alternating between the two. Beat until smooth. Pour the batter onto your cookie sheet and bake for 22 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Turn down the speed and slowly add in the lemon juice or Limoncello. You’ll need to scrap down the sides. Beat until smooth again. Turn down the speed and add in the powdered sugar about 1/4 a cup at a time. Once the sugar is incorporated, turn it up and beat it until it’s light and fluffy. Spread it over the top of your cake, cut it, and enjoy!

 

Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Ok so this is chocolate cake recipe no. 3. I liked this because it has Kahlua in it, which I like the flavor of. The mixture of coffee and chocolate really go well together. The original recipes was a mess, however. It listed baking soda twice, no baking powder at all, nor any sugar, among other things. Then a friend sent me the previous recipe and I realized that it was basically the same cake, modified to have Kahlua in it. And not messed up. So between the two I was able to figure out what it should and shouldn’t have in it and fixed it. Also this one called for strawberry frosting as well, which I thought would be gross with the coffee flavor of Kahlua. So instead I used a chocolate ganache frosting. Enjoy!

 

Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Dutch processed cocoa powder (the darker the better)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. real vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 9 oz chocolate, chopped (I used dark)
  • 9 oz heavy cream, hot
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp*
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and spray 3 round 8″ cake pans with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Nuke the water until warm, about 1 minute. Add in the espresso powder (this really enhances the chocolate flavor).

In a large measuring cup, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add in the buttermilk, oil, Kahlua and vanilla. Pour the warm water mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to fold all the ingredients together until combined. Like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it or you’ll get a chewy cake.

Divide the batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool.

Microwave the heavy cream for 1 1/2 minutes until hot. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Beat until smooth (you may need to nuke it again, do so 15 seconds at a time). Beat in the espresso powder. Allow to cool, beating every 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s barely warm.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. As in the previous two recipes, make sure the butter is super soft. Add in the chocolate ganache and beat the crap out of it until it’s smooth and somewhat fluffy. Turn down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar, beat until incorporated, and then turn it up and beat the crap out of it again. Once it’s light and fluffy you can frost your cake.

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Frosting

So this recipe, and the one that’ll follow it, are basically the same cake. I originally found the one I’ll post after this and was intrigued because it has Kahlua in it. It called for a strawberry frosting as well, which I thought was gross. Strawberry and coffee, which is the flavor of Kahlua, just do not go together as far as I’m concerned. So the next cake, which I make before this one, has a completely different frosting. Then a Facebook friend sent me this recipe, which was great! I made a few modification. The original called for 3 cups of sugar, way to much if you ask me. And I switched up the frosting, again I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frosting.

Now as I was on a cake kick, and this was really the 3rd cake recipe in a row, I decided to mix it up a bit. I made this into mini cupcakes instead. But you can certainly make this as a cake as well, either rounds or a sheet cake. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Dutch processed cocoa powder (the darker the better)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. real vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp*
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 tbsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely dices strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. strawberry syrup (I use DaVinci coffee syrup)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and line four 24 mini cupcake pans. If you’re going to make a cake, then you’ll want 3 round 8″ cake pans. Standard spray the non-stick cooking spray, parchment paper, yada yada yada. If cupcakes, use cupcake liners; super easy.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Nuke the water until warm, about 1 minute. Add in the espresso powder (this really enhances the chocolate flavor).

In a large measuring cup, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Pour the warm water mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to fold all the ingredients together until combined. Like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it or you’ll get a chewy cake.

If making mini cupcakes, about 1 heaping tbsp. per cupcake of batter. Regular cupcakes, fill about 3/4 full. Rounds you’ll divide the batter evenly between 3 pans. Sheet cake, just dump it all in.

  • Mini cupcakes – bake for 15 minutes
  • Rounds – 35 to 40 minutes
  • Sheet – 40 to 45 minutes

Standard: you’ll know they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. For cupcakes, pick on in the middle of the pan to test.

For the frosting:

Dice up the strawberries. Put them in a bowl, or I used a ziplock bag, and add in the strawberry syrup. I found that adding the syrup really enhanced the strawberry flavor. This is really helpful if you can’t find good, flavorful strawberries (heyI made this in February, it’s not like they’re going to be great).

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. *Note: as I mentioned in the previous recipe, for butter cream frostings you want the butter super soft. So while I say at room temp, the softer the better. Otherwise you’ll end up with chunks of butter in your frosting.

Once it’s smooth add in the strawberries and vanilla. Continue beating until smooth again and then turn down the mixer and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Frost away and then eat!

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Ok I’ve been on a complete chocolate kick of late. This recipe is going to be 1 in a series of 3 that are all pretty close. In fact I realized that the next 2 that I’ll post are basically the same recipe, the only difference is one has Kahlua in it. Now with all three of these it’s all about the cocoa. Use good cocoa, not that Hershey stuff!

This one is my favorite of the 3 that I’ll be posting. It’s super moist and the frosting, which has Bailey’s in it, is super flavorful. The original recipe had the frosting as a buttercream, which I am not a fan of. So I cut it down by adding a little cream cheese and reducing the sugar dramatically. I mean really, do you need 6 cups of powdered sugar in your frosting? Enjoy!

 

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (darker the better)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream of plain full fat yogurt (I used sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Guinness beer

Frosting:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp*
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray two 8″ cake rounds, or one 9″x13″ cake pan, with non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray again.

Sift together, in a large bowl, the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & powder, and salt. In a large measuring cup, beat the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla and bear.

Add the liquid to the sifted dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula until just combined. Like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it or you’ll have a chewy cake. Pour into your cake pan or pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes; or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. *Note: buttercream based frostings can be a real bitch. You want the butter soft, and I do mean soft! So while I put “at room temp” the warmer the better. But DO NOT MICROWAVE IT! Doing so has a tendency to make the butter melt in pockets and that won’t work for your frosting. Once it’s smooth Alternate the Bailey’s with the powdered sugar until it’s all incorporated and smooth. Then frost your cake.

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

I came across this recipe and it interested mostly because I have lemon curd on hand frequently. If you follow this blog, you know I use it in several recipes I’ve already posted. My Limoncello Tiramisu and Limoncello Cake both use it and you’ll want to check them out if you plan on making these as that’s where you will find the recipe for my lemon curd. Or you can get store bought. They were a big hit at work. Enjoy!

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Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see recipe links above)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, beating again until fluffy. Add in the lemon zest and juice, should be about 2 tbsp. of juice.

In a medium bowl shift together the flour and salt. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the flour until combined. Shape the dough into balls, about 1 tbsp. of dough will do. Place on the cookie sheets at least 1″ apart. Take you thumb and push down in the middle of each ball to form a well, this is where the curd will go. Bake about 20 minutes or until the sides barely start to turn brown. Remove from the oven and fill the centers with lemon curd, it’s take less than a tsp. Return to the oven and bake for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then dust lightly with powdered sugar (optional).

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

This recipe was sent to me as a request to make. Even though they’re called bars, it’s basically a square cheesecake. Which makes it challenging in that they don’t make square or rectangle springform pans, which make getting the cake out super easy. The original recipe also called for making it in a 9″x13″ sheet pan. I didn’t really want one that big and I also didn’t happen to have that many blackberries. So I split it between two 8″ square pans. One thing that did intrigue me about this recipe was the crust. Most cheesecake is a graham cracker crust. This one calls for  vanilla wafers and pecans. Now I’m not a fan of pecans so I decided to try something a little different, I used candied pecans instead. And as I was using 2 pans, I made one blackberry and one blueberry. Keep in mind that since I did this, the topping recipe below was split in half. So where I used 1 cups of sugar, I put 1/2 cup in each type of fruit. They turned out delicious! Enjoy!

 

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

  • Foil, the heaver the better
  • 1 11 oz box vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla schnapps (optional)

Filling:

  • 3 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla schnapps

Topping:

  • 4 cups blackberries (I used 2 cups and 2 cups blueberries)
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 or so tbsp. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla schnapps
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° and line your pan (or pans) with foil one way (long way if you’re using a 9″x13″ pan). Spray with nonstick spray. Take another pan, I use my lasagna pan, and fill it half way with hot water. Put it on the bottom rack.

In a food processor, pulse the wafers and pecans until fine. Remove any large chucks or crush them up. Add in the melted butter, vanilla, and schnapps (if using). Pulse until combined. All of the crumbs should be well coated with the butter. Press into the bottom of the pan (or pans, divide equally). Make sure you press it down nice and firm.

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy (no lumps). Turn it down and add the eggs one at a time until smooth again. Add in the sour cream and beat until smooth. Pour into the pan (or pans, divide equally). Smooth out the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door, allow the pan to sit in the open oven for 15 mins. Remove and allow to cool completely.

While it’s cooling; in a medium sauce pan (or in my case 2 pans) combine the fruit, sugar, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the fruit starts to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes. In a small jar, combine the cornstarch and remaining water (divided if you’re make 2) and shake well. Add into the fruit and boil for another 2 to 3 minutes, it should really thicken up. Cool completely.

Now here was the challenging part for me. I didn’t want to serve these in the pans with the foil as I’d cut the foil with the cakes and people could (would) have foil attached to their bites. So I  carefully used the foil to pull them out on to a counter, towards the edge. Took a plate and put the lip just under the edge of the cheesecake and carefully slide it forward by pulling on the foil until the cheesecake was all the way on the plate. Then I spread the fruit topping on it and chilled for an hour (or overnight, but cover it with wrap).  Cut into bars and enjoy!