Carrot Cake

From King Arthur Flour, a wonderful company and resource of great recipes. I did not have the pineapple although I love the sound of either the dried pineapple or the can of crushed pineapple. I substituted 1/3 c. golden raisins that I soaked in 2 T. Meyers rum. This cake easily serves 24 small squares, you don’t need more than that! I think you could also make this into a layer cake-2 or 3 8 or 9″ layers but you may need a little more frosting. Please excuse the bad photo as I had already cut up the cake and shared it with friends to get a whole picture!

CAKE
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (preferred) or sweetened coconut
1/2 cup diced dried pineapple*
*Substitute one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry, if preferred
FROSTING
3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.
Combine the eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
Mix the melted butter with the oil. With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, leaveners, salt, and spices. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.
Stir in the carrots, nuts, coconut, and pineapple.
Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, and cool in the pan.
To make the frosting: combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat together until light and fluffy.
Add the sugar gradually, beating well.
Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.
Spread frosting over the cake. Garnish with minced crystallized ginger, if desired.

Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler

A tried and true recipe that is perfect for summer! I have recently started adding peaches to this and it is delicious!

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries (about 11 ounces)
Accompaniment: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In an 8-inch square or other 2-quart baking dish melt butter. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and stir in sugar until combined well. Add milk and whisk batter until it is just combined. Pour batter into melted butter; do not stir. Pour berries into center of batter; do not stir. Bake cobbler in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until cake portion is golden and berries exude juices.
Serve cobbler warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Chocolate Pecan Bars

A wonderful bar recipe from my sister Meg. We prefer the graham cracker crust but you can chose for yourself. The recipe makes 24 rich and delicious bars!

Crust
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg beaten lightly
In a food processor, blend together the flour, sugar, butter and salt, pulsing the motor, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, add the egg and blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Press the dough evenly using floured hands into the bottom of a buttered 13 x 9 inch baking dish and bake it in the middle of a predheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden.
ALTERNATIVE graham cracker crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter,melted
Blend above ingredients and pat into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Filling
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cup chopped pecans
2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make one of the two crusts and bake. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. At the flour, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.
Spread the filling over the crust and bake in the middle of the 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely in the dish on a rack and cut it into 24 bars. The bars may be made 2 days in advance and kept in a airtight container.

Key Lime Pie

This recipe comes from an old friend and the former chef, Jeff Lohmann of my husband’s restaurant in 1979. Jeff sent us the key limes from trees in Palm Desert-what a treat. A few things are different with the recipe-he uses brown sugar in the graham cracker crust and he doesn’t prebake the crust. Also there are no eggs in the recipe but two cans of sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. The sour cream seems to lend a velvety texture to the pie.
whole-key-lime-pie
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2 c. graham cracker crumbs, crushed
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 oz. melted butter
Combine and press into pie plate.
Mix together:
3/4 c. key lime juice
1 T. key lime zest (about 4 limes)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. sour cream
Pour into pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until firm.
key-lime-pie

Molasses Cookies

From What’s Gaby Cooking blog that is one of my new favorites! I grew up with a molasses cookie with raspberry jam in the center and have never found the recipe but I will try it in these cookies the next time I bake them.
molasses-cookies
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
INSTRUCTIONS

In a large stand mixer combine the butter, sugar, egg and molasses. Mix for a minute or two until well combined.
Combine the flour, cloves, ginger cinnamon and baking soda and sift together.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once chilled, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls. Roll them around in a small cup of sugar and set onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool.

Double Ginger Molasses cookie with Bittersweet Chocolate

I have just received the new Dorie Greenspan cookbook called Cookies! It is a 500 page tome of many delicious cookies that I will cook my way through! This was a winner that I took to my volunteer group yesterday. As my friend said, there is a lot going on in this cookie and there is but the flavors all work well together. If your crystallized ginger isn’t moist, try steaming it in a strainer over simmering water for 5 minutes, pat dry and chop.
double-ginger-choc-cookie
2 1/4 c. (306 grams) all purpose flour
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 t. instant espresso powder, to taste (optional)
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 T or 6 oz.)butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 c. unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla
1/3 c. chopped crystallized ginger (or 2T. minced fresh ginger mixed with 2t. sugar)
7 oz. (200 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped chip size
sugar for rolling
Whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso, spices, baking soda and salt together.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add yolk and beat for one minute, then add molasses and vanilla, beating until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients all at once and pulse several times. On low speed, mix the dough until the flour is almost incorporated. Add the crystallized ginger and chocolate and mix until evenly distributed. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can bake these cookies as round balls or in buttered muffin tins (they will turn out more like little cakes. Roll the cookie into a ball and turn it into the sugar to coat it and place in a muffin tin (flatten it with a glass to 1/2″ thick) or on a cooking sheet.
Bake for about 13 minutes, rotating after 7 minutes. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before unmolding or putting on a rack to cool completely.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

From the wonderful blog https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/04/salted-chocolate-chunk-cookies/. You must read her blog as she is very convincing and funny about needing another chocolate chip cookie recipe! This is a winner and delicious!
salted-choc-chunk-cookiejpg
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) turbinado sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw; you can use more brown or white if you don’t have this, but the subtle crunch it adds is delightful)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (165 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon (or, technically, 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon) fine sea or table salt
1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 pound (225 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, cut into roughly 1/2-inch chunks with a serrated knife
Flaky sea salt, to finish

Heat oven to 360°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in salt fine sea or table salt and baking soda until combined, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. The dough will look crumbly at this point. With a spatula, fold/stir in the chocolate chunks.
Scoop cookies into 1 1/2 tablespoon (I used a #40 scoop) mounds, spacing them apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until golden on the outside but still very gooey and soft inside. Out of the oven, let rest on baking sheet out of the for 5 minutes before transferring a cooling rack.

Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

After reading this article in the WSJ, I was hooked. I ordered the Belgian chocolate mentioned in the article from Amazon and made the brownies. I used a half sheet pan that is a tad larger than the measurements the recipe called for but needed the extra room. I had never made a brownie recipe quite like this where you add the eggs at the very end. My brownies overflowed a little but the taste is over the top.
ultimate-chocolate-brownie
Vegetable oil spray
2 cups cake flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces dark chocolate, preferably Belcolade 60% cacao, coarsely chopped
2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ¾ cups granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 12-by-16-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, then spray parchment.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk eggs, vanilla and salt until combined.
Set a metal bowl over a pot to create a double boiler. Add enough water to pot to reach just below bottom of bowl. Heat water in double boiler to a steady simmer. Place chocolate and butter in bowl of double boiler, and cook, stirring to prevent chocolate from burning, until melted. (Alternatively, microwave them together in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted.) Whisk chocolate and butter briskly until combined.
Place sugar in a large bowl, then pour melted chocolate mixture over top. Whisk to combine. Add half of flour mixture to chocolate, whisking gently. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Add egg mixture to bowl. Use a rubber spatula to carefully fold all ingredients together, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until combined.
Pour batter into prepared sheet pan. If there are streaks of egg visible on top of batter, use spatula to smooth them into batter using a circular motion. Smooth top with a small offset spatula or a rubber spatula.
Bake brownies until batter has risen a bit, crust is even and slightly bubbling, and edges are starting to dry out and break, 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan, on a wire rack, before serving.

Hazelnut, peach and raspberry cake

A delightful cake from Yotam Ottolenghi. I updated the metric weights to our weights. I only used 6 oz. of raspberries and I mixed all of them with the peaches.** I cooked the cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the center was set. I did not find the need to cover the cake with foil while it baked. This cake is at its best when slightly warm; that said, it will keep for a day, but not much longer. Serves 10.
Peach and Raspberry Cake

2 tsp sunflower oil
2 large peaches, peeled and stoned and cut into 1.5cm/1/2″-wide wedges
200g/7oz. raspberries
320g/11 1/4 oz./1 1/2 cups caster sugar(fine baking sugar)
125g/4.4 oz./1 cup blanched hazelnuts
200g/7 oz. soft unsalted butter
3 large eggs, beaten
125g /4.4 oz/1 cup plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt

Hazelnut cake

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Line a round, 24cm/9.5″ spring-form cake tin with baking paper and brush with the oil.
Put the peaches in a bowl with 150g/5 1/3 oz. raspberries and a tablespoon of sugar, mix and leave to steep.
Put the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz for about a minute – you want them only roughly ground.
Beat the remaining sugar and the butter in an electric mixer until smooth and well combined, then add the eggs one by one, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Add the ground hazelnuts, flour, baking powder and salt, then mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the cake tin. Arrange the peach slices and raspberries randomly on top and bake for 70 to 80 minutes; after 30 minutes, cover the cake with foil to prevent it from taking on too much colour. Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool slightly, then release from the tin.**Arrange the remaining raspberries in the centre of the top of the cake and serve.

Citrus Caramel Blondies

This is from Food and Wine’s America’s Greatest Cooks. I liked the idea of it and made the recipe as is for my first try, but then I doubled it and made it in a larger pan and I thought it was much better. The caramel is very simple and easy to make and I think the key is to let it cool down to room temperature before you use it.
Citrus Caramel Bars
Caramel

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt (see Note)

Blondies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Make the caramel In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil the syrup over moderately high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the cream, butter and Maldon sea salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.

Make the blondies Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the pan with parchment paper, allowing 1 inch of overhang on 2 opposite sides; spray the paper. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the kosher salt and baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter with the brown sugar until combined, then whisk in the eggs and orange zest. Add the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.

Make the blondies Spread the batter in the prepared pan in an even layer. Drizzle the caramel over the top, then swirl it decoratively using a toothpick. Bake the blondie for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely. Lift the blondie out by the overhanging parchment and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.