Rainbow Cookies

Its a gloomy winter day, why not chase those winter blues away with rainbow cookies! I originally made these cookies because a friend of mine said she loves rainbow cookies and it was her birthday. Plus I wanted to know what the fuss what about with these rainbow cookies and it looks colorful. Ever since then I have tried a few rainbow cookies from different bakeries and I feel that either they make it too sweet for my taste, too much food coloring (looking like radioactive neon) or very oily. The ones I make are none of those things because well…I followed a different recipe, put less sugar and less food coloring.

Rainbow Cookies
Adapted from Epicurious
There is nothing to this recipe, its quite simple but time consuming. It is all worth it in the end because it tastes really good and so addicting. Ask my family, they eat one and another one then before you know it almost half is gone…it’s that good. Although for those of you who are allergic to nuts, I advise you not to eat it because this contains almond paste (or marzipan).
If you don’t have 13 by 9 inch metal baking pans, measure out the dimensions on the parchment paper. That’s what I did or else you are going to have some lopsided rainbow cookies.
As I mentioned before about the oiliness of some cookies these don’t even though you do use quite a lot (3 sticks!) but don’t let that deter you from making it. I might try this again with some substitute for the butter.
If you don’t have raspberry jam, its ok just use whatever jam you have available and don’t skimp on it because that is the glue which holds the layers of “rainbows” together.
Also, for the chocolate melting part. I took a short cut and melted it in the microwave because I’m lazy to use a double boiler.
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All the ingredients, minus the parchment paper.
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Measuring out the dimensions for the cookies.
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finished with the measurements.
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the melted butter (from the microwave) and grounded sugar and almond paste. I use a coffee grinder to turn the paste and sugar into a fine mixture.
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Mixed butter and almond paste/sugar.
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Previous mixture along with the rest of the ingredients. At this point it smells really good because the almond extract brings out the almond flavor.
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Letting a layer cool off. There is a bit of a mishap because I tried to invert the layer and in the process I broke the corner.
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The rest of the rainbow.
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the mishap up-close, I covered it up with jam and another layer will go on top of it. phew!
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Final product! the chocolate could been done smoother and nicely but the chocolate wasn’t tempered properly….It’s all good though because it still tasted amazing!

7 ounces marzipan paste or almond paste
1/2 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 drops green food coloring, or to desired color
5 drops red food coloring, or to desired color
12-oz jar raspberry jam
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 3 (13- by 9-inch) metal baking pans. Line bottom of each with wax paper, letting it extend at 2 opposite ends, and grease paper. Break marzipan paste into small pieces and grind with sugar in food processor until no lumps remain. Transfer to a large bowl and add butter. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add yolks and almond extract and beat well. Beat in flour and salt on low speed. Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks and stir one third into batter to lighten slightly (batter will still be stiff). Fold in remaining whites thoroughly. Divide dough into thirds (about 1 1/2 cups each). Stir green food coloring into one third and red food coloring into another, leaving one third plain. Spread each dough separately into a pan. (Layers will be thin.)

Bake layers in batches in middle of oven until just set and beginning to turn golden along edges, 7 to 10 minutes total. Run a knife along edges to loosen from pan, then while still hot, invert a large rack over pan and invert layer onto rack, pulling gently on wax paper overhangs to release if necessary. Peel off wax paper and cool completely.

Line a large shallow baking pan with wax paper and slide green layer into it. Spread half of jam evenly over green layer and carefully top with plain layer. Spread remaining jam evenly over uncolored layer and carefully top with pink layer (trim edges if necessary). Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large cutting board or baking pan. Chill at least 3 hours.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove weight and plastic wrap and spread chocolate evenly over top, but not sides, of pink layer. Let stand at room temperature until set, about 1 hour, and cut into small diamonds (12 rows crosswise and 12 diagonal rows) or into squares.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, I know. it’s about time that I wrote another post. I’ve been just plain lazy and busy with work and life. So just in time for thanksgiving I am baking a good ole’ apple pie. I had an apple pie party with a friend and we planed to bake three pies but instead made four with the extra dough left over and more than enough apples. I overestimated the amount of apples needed but its ok since I boiled down the apple and the juices then turned it into an apple sauce.
Also, Have a wonderful thanksgiving with all of your family and friends!
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get all those ingredients together.
ImagePea sized butter
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That’s a lot of dough (no pun intended)
Apple Pie Crust
Adapted from Mark Bittman
The recipe in the link will only make one pie crust and this one will make two, one for the bottom and another for the top.
After making this pie crust many, many times I noticed that the amount of water needed was much more than recommended. Sometimes, ok most of the time, I would add a tad bit too much water, making the dough very sticky and watery, but not to worry I would add more flour till it wasn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl.
I wrote next to the butter to cut it into pea sized pieces only because I don’t have a big fancy food processor, just a small one which can’t fit it all in, I use a knife to cut the butter into smaller pieces and then mix it together with the flour with my hands.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
16 tablespoons (2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pea sized pieces
13 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.

Put the mixture in a bowl and add the ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to a couple of days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of weeks.)

Sprinkle a clean counter-top with flour, put the dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it’s taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.

When the diameter of the dough is about 2 inches greater than that of your pie plate, drape the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Press the dough firmly into the plate all over. Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (if you’re in a hurry, freeze for a half hour or so).

Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes).

When you’re ready to bake, either fill it or prick it all over with a fork for prebaking.
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Apples for days
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Granny smith apples with sugar and spice.
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Granny smith, Golden delicious and Fuji apples.
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Roll that dough out!
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pie designs (apple and a cat). don’t mind the feet and other bodies.
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Lattice and heart design.
Apple Pie Filling
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
I have a jumble of apples that I use since I usually go to Asian supermarkets and they don’t have the same variety as American supermarkets. I pick a few that are sweet and sour.
I put corn starch and flour since I get paranoid that the apple pie will get all soggy from the excess juice but then I learned, the hard way, to NOT put all the excess juice that accumulates when you first mix it together with the spices and sugar. Maybe its because I leave the mixture out too long and the lemon juice, sugar and apple get a chance to mingle then all the juice appears.
What happens to that lovely sugar and spice juice? well I’m glad you asked, instead of using an egg white to get the crust to brown I use the excess juice to get that lovely shine and color.

3 Fuji apples
2 Golden delicious apples
2 Granny smith apples
1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
2/4 cups, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly

Adjust oven rack to the middle and oven to 425°F. Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).

Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9 1/2-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of pie plate and unfolding. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place; refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.

Peel, core and cut apples in half, and in half again width-wise; cut quarters into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, mix 2/4 cup sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, with some of the juice, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center.

Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits on dough top. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on baking sheet and bring the temperature to 425°F. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer.

Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours

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four pies all baked. lovely!
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my apple pie baking partner, spying on the pies!
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An extra pie from another day that I couldn’t resist showing. I bought a fancy new ceramic pie plate from Williams-Sonoma with a gift card from my lovely aunt, thanks!

Banana bread cake pops

Once again the last few bananas in my house have been neglected. Fortunately for me I had the good sense to prolong its brown yellow life in the fridge and bake banana bread cake pops. These were inspired by my friend Nicole who told me this long ago when I made the carrot cake pops.

Banana Bread Cake Pops
Recipe for Banana Bread
When I made the banana bread this time I left out the butter because as I mentioned in the previous post the banana and yogurt makes up for the lack of butter.
Put 1/2 cup of chocolate instead of 3/4 cups since the coating of the cake pop would be chocolate.
Substituted 1/2 cup of flour for 1/2 cup of ground flaxseed.
You can feel less guilty eating this cake pop or bread.
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Crumbly banana chocolaty goodness.
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Cake pops all made.
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Cake pops ready for chocolate covering. I had were a few pieces of Hershey bar chocolate in the kitchen.
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Time for the chocolate.
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All done and ready to eat!

Cake pop assembly
After letting it cool for a while, crumble the banana bread in a bowl with your hands or fork or both.
The banana bread has already a binding component from the mushy bananas, when you get to this point you will see, so you don’t need add any type of frosting or binding agent.
Make the cake pops into the size of a ping pong ball or a tad smaller and place the lollipop sticks inside the cake balls. (I advise you to cut the lollipop sticks in half since I think they are too long)
Place the cake pops on a baking tray, lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and put them in the freezer for 15 mins or refrigerator for 30 mins or less since the cake pops have the mushy banana binding.
Melt the chocolate in the a double boiler or microwave it in 20 second increments. Watch the chocolate, especially in the microwave, so you don’t dry out the chocolate.
Take the cake pops out and start to cover them in the chocolate and place them back on the baking tray.
When you are done with that, place the cake pops back in freezer or fridge to harden the chocolate. After the wait then you can eat it!

Spanakopita

I have a friend that loves Greek food, I mean LOVE and she is Italian. I remember making individual triangle spanakopitas, from none other than Ina Garten, for a school project and a friend of ours did not want to eat it so he threw it out. Needless to say, she was quite sad about it. So this is for you Lauren!
If you happen to live in New York and travel to Astoria, where Greek food is prominent, you should check out Titan foods. It’s a Greek supermarket with every Greek food imaginable.

Spanakopita
Adapted from Food.com
The recipe for this spanakopita is different than that one I made before because I made it into a large pie, phyllo dough, filling, phyllo dough. I learned that this is the true way it is made from an authentic Greek person and from reading multiple recipes.
I took a shortcut when oiling the phyllo dough. I used cooking spray instead of brushing on extra virgin olive oil since it was so much easier. I also, (you don’t have to do this) added panko bread crumbs in between the layers with the olive oil to help separate the layers.

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All the lovely ingredients. Sadly the lighting was bad so I needed to use flash and I really don’t like to use flash.
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Spinach mixture with feta cheese!
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Spreading out the ingredients on the of the bottom layer of phyllo dough.
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Covering the filling with the remaining phyllo dough and sprinkling a little panko in between the layers.
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Look the flaky golden brown goodness!
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Yum! the spinach and feta cheese!
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Pastry :
1 lb country-style phyllo pastry (if you can’t get that, regular phyllo pastry will do)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach Filling :
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs spinach, cleaned, tough stems removed (you can use frozen spinach)
6 spring onions, cleaned, sliced in 1/4 inch lengths
1 leek, white and tender part of green, cleaned, sliced in 1/4 inch lengths (if very large, slice leek in half lengthwise before slicing)
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup fresh dill, minced
1/2 – 1 lb (1-2 cups) feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions and leek until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and saute until the leaves have wilted. Then remove the spinach mixture from the pan and drain out the water.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool somewhat. When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach and place in a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Lightly oil a 12 inch in diameter, metal baking pan (you can use a larger baking pan – you will just have a thinner pie, but don’t use a smaller one), or a 10 x 15 inch rectangular baking pan.

Add dill and feta cheese to the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt – the feta will add quite a bit of its own). Pour the eggs over and give a stir to combine well.

Open up the phyllo pastry and place on a work surface. If using the country style pastry proceed, if using the thinner phyllo; cover with a damp cloth. (Continue to cover the pastry sheets with the damp cloth each time you remove one as you prepare the pie.).

Layer the phyllo in the pan, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the pan, brushing each phyllo layer generously with olive oil.
Use up half the phyllo sheets (about 10 sheets) to make the bottom pastry layer, allowing excess pastry to drape over edge of pan.

Put the spinach mixture in and press the top down gently to smooth filling. Tuck in the pastry draping over the edges.
Repeat layering with the remaining phyllo, oiling each sheet generously.

Using a sharp knife, score the upper layers of pastry into the size pieces you will want to serve once the pie is baked- BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH BOTTOM PASTRY.

Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes until it is golden brown.
Cool till just warm. Cut into serving pieces and serve either just warm or at room temperature. .

Roasted Almonds

Since the previous recipe was not baking related I decided that to put in this super simple recipe for roasted almonds. My friend Amber introduced me to roasted almonds and let me tell you if you have not tried roasted almonds, or thought raw almonds were ok, then this will make you love almonds. By roasting the almonds you release a distinct almond aroma and when the almonds are cooled it gives the almond a great crunch. I think the crunch is the best part!
Almonds are great for snacking or when you are counting down the time to lunch or dinner. Also, they are packed with nutrients such as protein, magnesium and vitamin E.  Which helps you lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Keep the portion size to a handful or 1 cup.

Roasted Almonds
from Amber
If you don’t want to turn on the oven then you can use a toaster oven, works just as well.
You can put as much almonds as you want and keep the same time.

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Before baking
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After baking. Enjoy!

2 cups almond

Oven temp to 350°F and bake for 10 mins.
Let the almonds cool and enjoy the crunchy tasty almonds.

Pesto

I love the smell of basil and lemon! Making this pesto is simply the best way to incorporate those two ingredients. A very simple and easy recipe that can be used with pasta, shrimp, tomato & mozzarella, omelets, and well anything you want. Even better is that you can keep pesto for a long time in the freezer. Yum!
I saw this recipe on the food network a long time ago when Dave Lieberman was hosting his show and from then on I kept making this recipe over and over again.

Pesto
Adapted from Dave Lieberman
After making this recipe a million times I tweaked it to my preference such as not adding garlic, less extra virgin olive oil, switching nuts and the rest is all to your personal taste. The reason i switched nuts is because if you have bought pine nuts you know that it is more expensive than walnuts, almonds, etc. As for the oil, I felt that it was a bit much for me since the oil would float to the top when the pesto was resting; I know that is quite normal but that is just me, you can put more oil if you would like.
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Colorful ingredients going in the blender. If you have a large food processor, I think that it would be easier to get the pesto out rather than struggle with spoon trying to scoop out every last bit.
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Finished product.
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Nothing like pesto pasta. yum!
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5 big handfuls basil leaves (about 2 hefty bunches)
1/2 cup pine nuts or 3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Juice of 1 small lemon
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until pesto is thick and smooth.

Berry Crumble

One day I watching Ina Garten on her food network show, Barefoot Contessa, she was baking a peach blueberry crumble and I thought oh my goodness, that looks so delicious! I have to make it! Actually almost everything that she makes I also want to make because it looks delicious, even a simple fruit platter or antipasto. Ina Garten is by far one of my favorite cooks because she always looks happy, relaxed and easy going, then again who wouldn’t when you live in the Hamptons. Plus, she has all these fabulous friends that come over and help her cook or decorate. awesome! Speaking of fabulous friends, I have a friend (J.Z.) that also loves Ina Garten as much as I do. My friend has a few of her cookbooks, sadly I only have one but that one has her signature in it!
I realized that I haven’t really talked about music in a while, the songs I am listening to now are by Lana del Rey. Her music has a more low and slow, sometimes a sadder, tone to her tunes but I guess her music grew on me and I like it. Some of her more popular songs are blue jeans, blue velvet (this song was played in an H&M commercial with her in it) and young & beautiful (this song was on The Great Gatsby soundtrack and trailer). Now on to the food!

Berry Crumble
Adapted from Ina Garten
Instead of using peaches I used frozen raspberry and strawberry along with the blueberries, just because I didn’t have peaches. Also I found that the recipe asked for a lot more flour than I thought it needed or it could be because I didn’t have enough fruit. It’s a bit of both, to remedy that I would add on two more cups of any berry of your choice and lowering the amount of flour (which is done below).
If there is anyone out there that is following a gluten-free diet then instead of using flour you can use cornstarch and you don’t have to make the crumble, this is great over other things such as gluten free ice cream or banana bread…..Hi Amy!
In the original recipe the dessert was plated in ramekins but if you don’t have those you can put it in a baking dish or casserole dish.
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Colorful ingredients.
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Berries combined with the flour mixture.
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The crumble and fruit mixture.
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Ready for the oven.
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Top it off with some ice cream and its ready to eat!

For the fruit:
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cup raspberry
1 cup strawberry
2 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)
For the crumble:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries, strawberry, raspberry. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into ramekins or baking dish.For the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas, or if you are like me then use a knife to cut the butter into itty bitty bits. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles in the refrigerator and bake before dinner.

Crème brûlée

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July with tons of fireworks, I know I did! It’s so beautiful to look at but it makes the loudest noise and creates such a scare with it goes off, nevertheless its still fun to play with fireworks!
This fancy named dish was made because I really wanted to make something special for my family since we went through a lot sweat and work to put on a large event. Plus, I had half and half just sitting in my refrigerator.

Crème brûlée
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
I found this recipe in a dessert cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. I haven’t made this in a while, so I totally forgot if I did something wrong or it was the recipes fault because It was not right when I first made it, the custard/crème was still very jiggly when it came out of the oven. Does not mean you cannot eat it, the dessert will be more like a creme caramel. I admit it might be my fault since the recipe tells you to pour the mixture through a sieve and for some reason I forgot about it and maybe half and half is not the right dairy to use. This recipe will have to be revisited another time.
Ah ha! I do remember that I definitely need to lower the sugar amount (the recipe below has the changed amount) cause I think this might give someone a head start into diabetes and never to use brown sugar for the sugary tops to be brûléed because it will be turned into a blackened mess and you will be sad…I know I was.
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Getting the ramekins ready in a roasting pan.
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Pour the hot cream into the egg mixture.
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Evenly pour the custard in each ramekin.
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I used a broiler to burn the sugar since I couldn’t find the torch.

2 cups heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1/4 plus 4 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready and a large baking pan

In a 2-quart saucepan add the cream, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat. Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the 1/4 cup sugar until smooth, blended and mixture is pale yellow. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly until blended. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the custard among four 5- or 6-oz. ramekins and place the ramekins in the prepared baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is just set around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the sugar evenly over each custard. Using a kitchen torch or the broiler melt the sugar evenly and golden brown. If you are using the broiler, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place 2-3 inches from the heat source, watch constantly and rotate baking sheet to brown evenly.
Serve immediately.

Happy Birthday Mom! Banana bread with chocolate.

Wishing my mother a Happy Birthday and Hello July!
Poor bananas. In my house they either get eaten quickly or slowly, or I forget them in the brown bag because I am waiting for them to ripen (It really works, just put an apple inside too). This time it was because the bananas were being eaten slowly, so slow that I had to put them in the refrigerator, but lovely for me to make banana bread!

Banana bread with chocolate
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg
This recipe came from her book A Homemade Life, which has quite a few recipes with a great story behind each one.
The butter and flour can be substituted for a healthier option. The banana and yogurt in the recipe can substitute the butter. Bananas can substitute the full amount of butter or, if you are skeptical, half the amount and the yogurt can substitute half the amount.
As for the flour, get yourself some ground flax seed and substitute about half or quarter the amount. This substitution can be put into use with just about any recipe. Another nifty tip, when you don’t have any baking soda just use double the amount of baking powder.
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getting ready to bake!
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mushy bananas, not a very appealing color.
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Pouring the mushy banana mixture into the dry ingredients. again not the most appealing color or action for that matter..oops.
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poured out the batter into the greased loaf pan and smoothed the top of the batter as best I could.
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Then out of the oven and the loaf has turned a beautiful golden brown. It smelled delicious! I had to restrain myself from eating it because I had to save it for a family gather the next day.

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional because of the bananas)
2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 1/2 cup flour & 1/2 ground flax seed)
2/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas)
1/4 cups of  whole milk plain yogurt or greek non fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.

In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. (Be careful and do this over medium power in short burst because it can explode or splatter and that is a big mess.) Or melt it in the preheating oven. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not over mix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 mins. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing (if you can wait that long).

The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn.

Almond butter cookies

There is too much almond butter at home, my dad keeps buying it cause he thinks we don’t have any. Therefore, I had to find a way to make it disappear and that’s where the cookies come in.

Almond butter cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I admit that these cookies were ok, the almond butter probably made it taste grainy and it was a tad dry since I couldn’t trust to under baked the cookies, so I left the cookies in the oven longer. But the chocolate chips saved the cookies!
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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup almond butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the almond butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.