Category Archives: desserts

Easy Strawberry Cake

This a delicious fruity summer dessert. It starts with an easy yellow cake batter that uses lots of fresh berries. The berries bake into the cake and create little pools of jammy fruit. Enjoy summer in a cake!

From my the bay, wishing you jammy summer fruit cake memories.

Maryann

Easy Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

¼ pound unsalted butter softened

½ cup fine sugar

1 teaspoon coarse sugar for topping the cake

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place strawberries in bowl, cover with lemon juice, mix and set aside. Using electric mixer combine  ¼ lb butter and sugar until fluffy, then add egg along with vanilla and combine. Next add  the flour and  baking powder and combine. This makes a soft dough.  Take an 8” non stick cake pan line with parchment and butter and flour the pan. Press the dough into the pan covering the bottom of the cake pan. Use a spatula to spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place strawberries over the dough. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top of the batter and berries. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until  cake tester is clean. Cool and remove from pan. Serve warm or room temperature as is or with fresh whipped cream.

Variations: replace strawberries with blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

It’s a glorious day when I step into a farm stand and find a brilliantly red fresh bunch of rhubarb stalks ! I grab those beauties and head home into the kitchen to decide how to best enjoy find. Melissa Clark’s Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake is a most try recipe for anyone loving rhubarb. A perfect combination of sweet and sour topping a moist dense cake. It’s sublime!

From by the bay, wishing you brilliant rhubarb food memories!

Maryann

Rhubarb Upside-Down CakeFrom Melissa Clark’s A Good Appetite 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, more to grease pans
  • 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • zest of one lemon grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.

2. In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, cornstarch and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

3. Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Whip 2 sticks butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. (It’s O.K. if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the mixer bowl in between the additions.

5. Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan, then spoon in the rhubarb and its juices. Spoon in the batter so it covers all of the rhubarb. Smooth out the top.

6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.

7. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the cake from the pan while still warm or else it will stick.

Belgian Waffles with Whipped Marcarpone Cream and Peaches



It’s County Fair Season and I sure do love it. Our local fair is pretty small in scale but scale is made up for in location, location, location! The fair sits on the edge of the sand and sea. Warm breezes and salty air waft over the fairground. A perfect time to be out enjoying the music, rides and the food. Let’s talk about fair food. I can enjoy the real deal as much as the next person – the funnel cakes, corn dogs, kettle corn, snow cones and all kind so of things fried, but I often wonder wouldn’t it be nice to kick it all up a notch and maybe not be eating just fried everything. I decided to create my own fair food menu, perfect with your next fair or family gathering.

From by the bay wishing you delicious country fair food memories!

Maryann

Belgian Waffles with Whipped Mascarpone Cream and Peaches

Makes 8

 

1 ½ cup flour

2 tablespoons fine sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

½ cup milk

¼ sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup melted unsalted butter

Spray vegetable oil

 

Directions

 

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add milk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix well. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile spray waffle iron with vegetable oil andpreheat waffle iron. Add ½ cup of batter for each waffle. Cook as directed with iron until waffles are golden brown. Serve waffles with whipped mascarpone cream and freshly sliced peaches. Dust some confectionery sugar on top of the assembled waffles.

 

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

 

¼ cup mascarpone

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons confectionery sugar

 

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and using an electric mixer, whip together until the cream is in soft peaks that hold their shape. Serve immediately with the waffles or keep in the refrigerator covered until ready to use.

Cinnamon Tahini Cookies

Middle Eastern food is having a big moment in the food world. Along with that trend baking with tahini seems to be everywhere.  I always have a jar of tahini in my home, it has so many uses from making hummus to salad dressing and sauces. I love the results when I have used tahini in my baking. This cookie has easily become a family favorite. A cookie that is slightly crisp thanks to being rolled in black and white sesame seeds, warm from the cinnamon and a light nutty flavor from the tahini. The cookies last for a week stored in an airtight container. (Although the cookies never last that long). You should definitely give this cookie recipe a try!

From by the bay, wishing you great tahini food memories!

Cinnamon Tahini Cookies

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, “Martha’s Tahini Cookies”

Makes approximately 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well mixed
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds, white or black and white mixed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line four baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in tahini. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Spread sesame seeds on a shallow dish. Scoop 1 round tablespoon of dough; roll into a ball. Roll in sesame seeds until thoroughly coated, then transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

There are so many things to look forward to in early spring and perhaps one of my great food pleasures is rhubarb. Rhubarb although often thought as a fruit is really a vegetable. We see rhubarb here in the northeast for such a brief period that once I see it in a store I grab what I can and make a series of dishes sweet and savory. This weekend is the beginning of a little rhubarb festival by the bay. The star of this festival is this delicious strawberry rhubarb crostata. A very crispy pie crust with a juicy filling of sweet strawberries and slightly sour rhubarb. It’s fantastic. I love the tangy taste of rhubarb! If I have enough rhubarb I often opt to use just rhubarb alone in the filling and add a little more sugar to balance it out. I’m in love with  the bright vibrant color of the filling. This is definitely a perfect early spring treat!

From by the bay wishing you delicious rhubarb food memories!

Maryann

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

Serves 4

Ingredients for Dough

  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter ( one stick)
  • 1cup , plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for filling

  • 2 cups rhubarb  (stalks only) cut into 1/2 inch pieces and hulled and sliced strawberries combined (50/50)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Coarse sugar

Directions

To make dough cube the butter.  In a small bowl combine sea salt and water. Place both the butter and salt water in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a food processor add the flour and lemon zest. Pulse twice. Add the cold butter and pulse 3 to 4 times to incorporate pieces of butter into the flour. Slowly add some water until the dough is a crumb like texture. You may not need all of the water. Place dough onto plastic wrap and fold wrap over to close and push dough together to combine. Flatten into a disk covered with the plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.  Take a piece of parchment paper and place the dough in the center cover with the plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out and fold turn parchment sheet  90 degrees and repeat another 3 times. Roll out the dough on the parchment on the bottom again with plastic wrap over the top of the dough into a round approximately 1/8 inch thick. Spoon the filling in the center of the round leaving a 1 inch border all around. Fold the edges over the filling partially covering around the border. Place parchment with pie carefully onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and cream to make the wash. Remove from the refrigerator and brush the egg wash on the edges of the pie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place into oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Slide carefully onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Best New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I’m sure most people will say who needs another chocolate chip cookie recipe, but when the source of that recipe is Dorie Greenspan, the ultimate baker of cookies, well one most stop , bake, taste and enjoy. This recipe is a slightly more adult version of the classic cookie adding spices you might not think of adding to the cookie- ground coriander and nutmeg. Before dismissing this, please reconsider…. these spices enhance the flavor, but the flavor is indeed subtle and delicious. I like the idea of adding some spice to chocolate chip cookies and plan to experiment myself with cinnamon and chinese-five spice powder. These cookies have a nice chewy texture, more so than a classic chocolate chip. This is definitely a great alternative and also seems to appeal to those who may not normally like a chocolate chip cookie. I highly recommend Dorie’s cookbook, “Dorie’s Cookies” published in 2016. It’s a great cookie bible from one of the greatest baker of our time. I use this book over and over again. I especially enjoy how Dorie suggests variations and changes to her recipes to try for fun. If you can’t have fun baking and eating cookies, well when can you have fun?

From by the bay, wishing you fun chocolate chip cookie food memories!

Best New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

By Dorie Greenspan from Dorie’s Cookies 2016

Makes about 50 cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (91 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 2/3 cups chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
  5. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough, being certain to use cool baking sheets.

Bananas for this Banana Dessert!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m sure you have seem every chocolate recipe imaginable! But what do you do if your favorite loved one doesn’t like chocolate! I say go bananas with this double dose of banana cookery from two of my favorite chefs! I decided to double my banana game for dessert one evening by making Dominique Ansel’s banana bread. This is the perfect recipe! It is rich, delicious, moist  and easy. Seriously this recipe is perfection. The bread stays moist for days if wrapped well. Next up is the banana jam, just imagine a caramel and a banana joined together and that is what this jam is ! It’s great on toast, biscuits and yes this banana bread. If you want to kick the whole thing up an notch serve a slice of banana bread topped with a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream and then drizzle the top with banana jam!  It’s heaven! Each recipe stands perfectly on its own but in honor of Valentine’s Day it’s about the union . This is a union you will want to experience.

From by the bay wishing you, top banana food memories!

Maryann

Dominique Ansel’s Banana Bread

As featured on Tasting Table courtesy of Dominique Ansel

Preparation Time 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 10″ x 5″ x 3 ½” loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and combine with the mashed bananas. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Stir in the melted butter until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Biscuit Love Banana Jam

Yields 4 cups    Preparation Time 40 minutes

As featured on the Food Network Courtesy of Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Nashville

 

Directions

Mix the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Heat the sugar mixture on high heat until the mixture caramelizes; the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize. Once the caramel reaches a deep brown color, turn the heat to low and carefully add the bananas. Stir with a wooden or heat-resistant spoon until the bananas begin to break down, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the salt and remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and vanilla.

Serve with warm biscuits. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

 

Peppermint Shortbread

Well, with Christmas fast approaching, perhaps you are looking for that perfect Christmas cookie for your platter or maybe you are looking for something new to add to try for the holiday. Well, search no more this is soon to be your favorite cookie. Consider a cookie that combines the taste of shortbread, candy canes and chocolate……….what????

Yes, your Christmas dreams should have visions of peppermint shortbread dancing in your head! If you don’t care for chocolate and yes there are some who don’t , this cookie is delicious without chocolate too. I only dip half of my cookies and both versions are eaten quickly!

From by the bay, wishing you sweet peppermint shortbread food memories!

Maryann

Peppermint Shortbread

Adapted from Ina Garten Shortbread recipe 2008 as published for the Food Network

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup red and green peppermint candy crunch ( crushed into small pieces)
  • 6 to 7 ounces good quality dark chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Add the candy crunch and mix through. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 2″ round cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle 1/3 to 1/2  of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it. Place on a rack so chocolate can set. Place in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding

Add this delicious recipe to your holiday line up! This recipe for Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding is quick to assemble making  for a perfect ending to a holiday meal serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, an excellent addition to your holiday buffet along side a baked ham or use in place of french toast for breakfast or brunch with powdered sugar on top and a little warm maple syrup served on the side along with sausage or bacon! The cranberries give it a festive note. This bread pudding uses brioche bread that is toasted , it can be fresh or stale bread. No need to wait hours or overnight for soaking the bread pudding in the milk and eggs, just 5 to 10 minutes, so it can be assembled last minute. Try and enjoy this holiday season!

From by the bay wishing you yummy bread pudding food memories!

Maryann

Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broiche, cut into 1 inch cubes, with crust ( 1 loaf of broiche from 14 to 16 ounces )
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large pears ( such as Bosc) peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brandy such as Calvados
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and dry, approximately 15 minutes. In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saute pan, then add the pears and 1/4 cup sugar. Continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the pears become soft and caramelized, approximately 15 minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Remove from heat, then add the brandy and cranberries. Stir well. The mixture should be syrupy and thick, if not place back on a low heat until it’s syrupy. Set aside. In a large bowl beat together the milk, eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Brush a  8″ by 11″ baking dish with about 1/3 of the melted butter. Add the bread cubes and then the custard mixture, stir well coating the bread cubes. Next add the pear and cranberry mixture to the bread and custard, mix again well. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes so the bread will soak some of the custard. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes until golden brown and the custard is set. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. To serve sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and then serve with whipped cream or ice cream if serving for dessert.

Note: If not serving immediately, cover with foil to keep warm . Serve within the hour.

 

Entertaining: What’s Cooking Labor Day Weekend!

If you are like me, you are finding it very hard to believe that September and Labor Day Weekend are here!  But with that we like to celebrate Labor Day Weekend with friends and family. Here are a few of the recipes I’ll be using to entertaining this weekend!

Part of my holiday weekend will be filling the house with some sunflowers, while I still can. Nothing says late summer more to me than sunflowers! In addition, I’ll be using the best of the produce from the farm stands this weekend and corn is still at it’s peak! I’ll be making some corn hummus with corn leftover from another meal. You need just four extra ears.  This recipe calls for roasting the corn in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes wrapped in foil. I’ve been making my corn like this all summer, it’s easy to prep in advance and really easy to serve a crowd of people. I prep it before anyone arrives, leave it on a tray in the oven and just turn the oven on an hour before I want to serve it warm. Delicious!! so make a few extra and also make Roasted Sweet Corn Hummus

Another favorite meal that is an easy meal for a crowd that is delicious and super simple to make is Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce. You’ll love the flavor using your favorite NON-DIET Cola in your sauce!

Wondering what to serve along side this dish , you definitely need some fresh coleslaw. I like to make my Grandma’s Coleslaw with Warm Dressing.  Definitely, a comforting complement to the brisket!

The perfect dessert for a crowd is a crumble and this crumble mixes blueberries and plums for a slightly sweet and spicy dish. You will love my Blueberry Plum Crumble!

If you need a breakfast brunch idea for the weekend, one of my favorite dishes is Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast. I use big thick slices of brioche soaked in vanilla and bourbon. Bourbon? Why not it’s a holiday weekend and the french toast is topped with a  yummy mixed berry and plum compote!

I will definitely try to bake some cookies this weekend to have around the house and in celebration of sunflowers I think I’ll be baking sugar cookies topped with sanding sugar to look like my beautiful sunflowers! Use my Favorite Sugar Cookie recipe!

From by the bay, make great friends and family food memories this weekend!

Maryann

 

Roasted Sweet Corn Hummus

Brisket with Cola Barbecue Sauce

Grandma’s Coleslaw with Warm Dressing

Blueberry Plum Crumble

Vanilla Bourbon Soaked French Toast

Favorite Sugar Cookie