Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s show on PBS. I liked it because it’s 1) quick and 2) gluten free. He made his with blood oranges, which I may try sometime in the future, but I had lemons handy and coworkers who love them. So I mixed it up a bit and changed out the syrup that goes along with it. Enjoy!

Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

Cake:

  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar, brown or sugar in the raw if you have it
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325° and line a 8″ springform pan with parchment paper, spraying it with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract.

In a small bowl combine the polenta, lemon zest, almonds, and baking powder. Fold this into the butter/egg mixture. Pour into the springform pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and a toothpick comes our clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a small pan, heat together the honey, water, lemon zest & juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer until it’s reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

Take a skewer and poke a bunch of holes in the cake. Pour the syrup over the top, it will soak in. Allow the cake to completely cook before removing from the pan. Flip it over carefully, as it’s a bit fragile, and remove the paper from the bottom. Slice and enjoy!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Gingersnap Streusel

It being fall, and I picked up a pack of canned pumpkin at Costco, has inspired me to work on quite a few pumpkin-based recipes lately. This one caught my eye because it has a streusel topping made from gingersnap cookies. I had picked up a tin of them at Trader Joe’s and also a bottle of brown sugar bourbon from Heritage Distilling co. (a local distiller)

So I decided to give this recipe a go. I did modify it quite a bit actually. The original had a lot of brown sugar in it. I cut that down and added some black-strap molasses instead. Oh and the brown sugar bourbon, of course. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Gingersnap Streusel

Cake:

  • 2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, 2 whole and 1 yoke
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar bourbon
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

Streusel:

  • 2 cups ground gingersnap cookies (about 9 oz)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, at room temp
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375°. Spray a 9″ x 13″ or two 8″ x 8″ cake pans.

To make the streusel, grind up the gingersnap cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. In a medium bowl mix them with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Add in the butter and cut it in until it resembles a crumbly texture. I use my hands, it’s easier.

In a medium pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to brown and gives off a slightly nutty odor. Once it start to brown immediately take it off the heat and pour it into a heat-proof bowl, this will prevent it from burning.

In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin spice. Mix in the brown sugar, making sure there are no lumps.

In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, yolk, vanilla, and bourbon. Whisk in the butter until combined. Fold in the pumpkin and sour cream. Gently fold in the flour mixture until just combined. You don’t want to over mix it.

Spread the batter in your pan(s) and sprinkle with the streusel. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, longer if you’re using the large pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean when done.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirled Cupcakes

So a couple of my coworkers were lamenting the fact that almost all of the treats I bring into work are sweets. One is diabetic and the other is on a no-sugar diet. So I took that as a challenge and found this recipe, which is diabetic friendly and has no sugar. I did modify it slightly, as is my want, by adding a little brown sugar bourbon. Enjoy!

IMG_2276

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirled Cupcakes

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk as I had it on hand)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed, it’s the best)
  • 1/2 cup (or so) chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners and spray the insides with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, syrup, eggs, milk, bourbon, and vanilla.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and fold in until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.

Now divide your batter in half. To one half add in the cocoa and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Now add it back into the other half and gently swirl them together. You don’t want them too mixed if you want to see a swirled pattern.

Scope into the lined muffin tin, filling about halfway. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and eat.

 

Mexican Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Since I found the simple Instant Pot recipe for making Dulce de Leche I’ve been on the hunt for recipes to use it in. I came across this one and it sounded tasty. The cookies are similar to the Mexican cookie recipe I’ve posted before. Only that recipe is a shortbread type cookie and this is more of a traditional cookie. I added a sprinkle of sea salt on top where the original recipe called for sugar. I prefer that salty vs sweet vibe. Enjoy!

Mexican Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Flake sea salt
  • Dulce de Leche (see my previous recipe)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl shift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and chipotle .

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Add in the vanilla. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the flour and beat until combined.

Use a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon to measure out the dough and space at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the flake sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, the tops should show some crackling. Cool completely.

Spread a heaping tablespoon of the Dulce on one cookie and top with another, making a sandwich.

 

German Chocolate Pie

I came across a recipe for this pie and it immediately caught my attention. Mostly because I have a good friend who loves German Chocolate cake; in fact, I made one for him for this birthday one year. So I thought I would give it a try. I only modified it slightly. Used my own pie crust recipe and added some good Dutch-processed cocoa. Warning! This is really rich so a little goes a long way! Enjoy!

 

German Chocolate Pie

Filling:

  • 4 oz sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Direction:

Preheat your oven to 400°. Roll out the pie dough using my recipe (which will make 2 pies) and line a pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Line the pie dough with parchment paper and pie weights (I just use dry beans). Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully take the weight and parchment out and put it bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Put the chopped chocolate in a microwave bowl and nuke to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool slightly until just warm to the touch. Whisk in the milk, yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool, combine the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. In a small bowl whisk the yolks. Slowly whisk in a small amount of the hot sugar/cream mixture. Pour the yolks into the remaining sugar mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the mixture is thick. Stirr in the coconut ad vanilla, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the pie filling and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bars

So this recipe is really similar to the Bourbon Pumpkin cake recipe I posted earlier. The big difference is no Bourbon. Still super moist and flavorful though. I modified the original recipe that this is based on. It called for a few ingredients I didn’t want to use and I substituted ones I did want to use. Easy enough. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Icing

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Spay a 9″x13″ baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth. Combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & soda, and salt. Gradually beat into the pumpkin mixture on low speed. Pout in to the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool. Once it’s cooled flip over onto a board or plate and remove the parchment. Flip it back into the baking pan.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and butter until smooth. Add in the vanilla and milk, beat until smooth again. Spread onto the bars, cut, and eat.

 

 

 

Maple Shortbread Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle. It’s cooler, rainy, the leaves are changing color, and it’s getting dark earlier. Therefore it’s been inspiring me to make fall like things. Such as the Bourbon pumpkin cake I posted earlier and the soon to be posted pumpkin bars, which to be honest are almost the same as the cake only without the Bourbon. And this recipe. Apparently there are Canadian cookies similar to this that I’ve never had. I’ve upped this slightly by added a Bourbon maple frosting to it, which I used some Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and some Bourbon. I’ve got to use up that Bourbon somehow (other than drinking it)! These cookies are pretty delicate and crumbly because of all the butter so be warned. I may try modifying it in the future to see if I can cut down on this. Enjoy!

Maple Shortbread Cookies

Cookies

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon

Directions:

I used a food processor but you can use a bowl and beater. Combine the butter, sugar, and cornstarch. Add in the maple flavoring. Gradually add in the flour and combine until smooth. Roll out into a lightly floured board and shape into a log, I make mine somewhat rectangle as that’s how I like my cookies. Note: You could make this into a disk and roll out to use a cookie cutter after it chills if you wanted. You’d need to re-refrigerate the dough again if you wanted to roll it out again after making the cut outs with the cookie cutter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1/4 in slices if not using a cookie cutter.

Pre-heat your oven to 325°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookie 1″ apart from each other. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges a light brown. Cool.

In a small bowl beat together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and Bourbon. Spread over the cookies and let set until the glaze dries. Eat.

Lemon Cream Pie

A coworker of mine LOVES lemon. She’ll eat fresh lemon every day, pretty much. So she was having a bad week and I decided to make something lemon for her to cheer her up. I had a bunch of mascarpone cheese and some leftover lemon curd. So I decided to make her a lemon cream pie. This is one of those recipes that I completely made up, which I don’t do a whole lot. But it turned out perfect. Added bonus? No baking! Enjoy!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 5 oz package of graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see my recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 pkg Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Put your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer. This will help with the whipped cream.

Melt the butter in a microwave dish, about 20 seconds at a time. I usually cover mine with a wet paper towel, just in case it “pops” and splatters the microwave. In a food processor crush the graham crackers until they are fine. Combine with the melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into a pie or square cake pan, whichever you prefer.

In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone cheese and lemon curd.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and hot water. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Add into the cheese/curd mixture, beat until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Pull out your bowl and whisk from the freezer. Beat the heavy cream, starting out slow and increasing the speed as the cream thickens. When it has soft peaks slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Beat until firm peaks form. Spead on top of the lemon pie mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour and then enjoy it.

Bourbon Pumpkin cake

A few years ago I got a cookbook called Booze Cakes and this recipe is based off one from that book with a few modifications, of course. It’s perfect for the fall. It’s like a pumpkin pie, super moist. I was lucky enough to find a great Bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup at Costco. It enhanced the subtle Bourbon flavor. Enjoy!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

Cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup good maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin butter
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bourbon

Direction:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 2 round cake pans or 1 rectangle 9″x13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. I line mine with parchment paper and spray the paper. It really makes getting the cake(s) out super easy.

In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 mins. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined.

In a medium bowl; sift together the flour, baking powder & soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the milk in alternating additions until well combined. Add in the pumpkin, vanilla, bourbon and Grand Marnier. Pour into your cake pan(s) and cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

For the glaze; bring the maple syrup, butter, pumpkin butter, and salt to a boil. Lower and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add in the bourbon and Grand Marnier and simmer for 1 more minute. Allow to cool.

One the cake(s) have cooled slightly, take a skewer and poke a ton of holes in the top. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to soak in. Finish cooling the cake all the way.

For the frosting, in a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the bourbon and beat until combined and smooth. Frost your cake and eat.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

So this recipe is quite different than the last one I posted. I received this from a friend of a friend and thought I’d give it a try. I modified the original slightly and will probably tweak it a little more. Even though it’s a pie you make it in a spring form cake pan. Which worked really well for building it up but the graham cracker crust stuck to the bottom on me, even though it had a stick of butter in it! I’ll have to work on that part but overall it was delicious. Enjoy!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp real vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 3 1.55 oz Hershey chocolate bars

Directions:

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until pretty fine. Add in the brown sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of a 9″ spring form pan.

In a medium bowls beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, I put mine with the beaters in the freezer for 30 mins, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and Kahlua, beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in 2/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Once it’s all incorporated, pour it into the spring form pan.

In a small microwave proof bowl, nuke the chocolate bars for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted and smooth. Pour on top of the peanut butter mixture and smooth out. Pour the remaining whipped cream on top and smooth out. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.