Archive for the 'Dessert' Category

How to cut up a bunch of strawberries the easy way

This sounds easy, and it is. And, in the past I’ve cut up pounds and pounds of strawberries. I’ve sliced them, diced them, and chopped them. And usually they leave red berry stains on my cutting board, on my counter and on my hands.
Well, no more.
Here is an easy way to cut up strawberries that is also fast:

  1. Using a paring knife, cut the stem and core out. The core is sightly bitter and it’s a good idea to get rid of it. You don’t have to go very deep, about 1/4” to 3/8” should do it.
  2. Place the cored strawberry on the cutting board sitting on its fat end.
  3. Do all the strawberries this way (see photo above)
  4. Next, take each strawberry and cut twice vertically from the top end to the bottom cutting the berry into quarters (see photo above).
  5. Grab the whole strawberry near the base and throw it into a bowl.

Once you get the hang of this technique, it goes really fast.
Because of the way they are cut, the berries stick together and you do not have to handle the cut edges of the berries so everything stays cleaner. Especially your hands.
Now, go cut up some strawberries and make some great strawberry short cake!

Moist Pumpkin Raisin Bran Muffins – AKA Better Than Sex Muffins


Adapted from a King Arthur Flour Test Kitchen recipe
Makes 12 muffins

I have a lot of friends that just love pumpkin. Pumpkin in anything is a good thing. I like pumpkin, too; just not as much as these folks.
I have been baking many different kinds of muffins lately and I thought why not try a pumpkin muffin.
And the search was on.
I did not find many pumpkin muffin recipes. Some of them sounded awful. I tried one from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking that was just okay. Then I ran across a recipe on the Internet from King Arthur Flour. One thing I liked about it was that it used a whole 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree. What do you do with a quarter can of pumpkin anyway?
In looking at the recipe it look familiar. It seemed close to the moist and tasty bran muffins I posted earlier (here). So I made some changed to the recipe using some tricks from that recipe.
It worked.
These are outstanding muffins. The pumpkin flavor comes through (a problem in many pumpkin recipes) and they are moist and tender – just a great combination. And as an added bonus, they are low calorie, low fat and high in fiber.
And they taste so good that a friend of mine renamed them “Better Than Sex Muffins!”
It fits.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Moist Pumpkin Raisin Bran Muffins – AKA Better Than Sex Muffins’

Amazing Margarita Cookies

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Sablés au Citron
Makes about 50 cookies

These cookies are amazing. You bite into one thinking cookie. And it is a cookie. It’s sweet. But then the salt hits you and your brain says whoa!
Sweet and salty.
Then the lime and orange kick in. And your brain says whoa again…sweet, salty and citrus.
Then the slight hint of tequila hits you.
And your brain, totally confused, says, “Margarita cookie. I like.”
And you have another. And another.
These things are addictive.
I know you don’t believe me. No one believes me when I offer them a margarita cookie. Then they taste one and always want another.
Like I said, this is an amazing cookie.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Amazing Margarita Cookies’

Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Roll Up Cake

Serves 6 to 10

This is a recipe my wife has been making for years and years. We have no idea where she got it from. The only thing I know is that it’s delicious.
It is an easy cake to make. It looks really pretty once you sprinkle it with confectioner sugar. And it serves a lot of people.
Sounds like a near perfect dessert, assuming you like pumpkin (which I do!).
Enjoy.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Roll Up Cake’

Ultimate Strawberry Shortcake

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Makes 8 shortcakes

My family loves strawberry shortcake.  In fact, my eldest son request this dessert for his birthday instead of cake.
I have made several types of shortcake which are basically a sweet biscuit.  But, I thought what about a flaky sweet biscuit?  And then I remembered the flaky blueberry scone (here).  What if we eliminated the blueberries and added sugar to the square and roll that up?  Should work.
Boy, did it work.  This is the best shortcake I have ever tasted.  Sweet and flaky.  Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  A great combination.  Great by themselves.
But, add strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream  and you have one outstanding dessert.   One that is as near to perfection as you can get.

Recipe follows.
Continue reading ‘Ultimate Strawberry Shortcake’

Orange-Almond FattyBiscotti

This recipe is the result of a mistake
Makes abut 3 dozen.

The other day I was baking cookies for a meeting at my office. Three batches of cookies. The first two involved creaming two sticks of butter with 2/3-cup powdered sugar. I’d never used powdered sugar to make cookies before and I can report that it works. These cookies were very good and I will post the recipes at a later date.
Well, the last cookie I was going to make was an orange-almond biscotti. I have made lots of biscotti and never found one that I truly loved. They were okay, but nothing to write home about.
I pulled the Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook and turned to the orange-almond biscotti page. Away I went. I measured out the flour and the baking powder/salt combination.
On to the butter. Not looking at the recipe (don’t ever do that!) I took out two sticks of butter (16 tablespoons!) just like I had done earlier in the evening with the other cookies (what was I thinking?) and started to fluff it up. I added 1 cup of sugar to cream the two together.
Then I realized my mistake and noticed that the original recipe only called for FOUR tablespoons of butter. Geez, I had four times that amount!
One thing I’ve learned in baking is, “Don’t panic.  Think it through.  Maybe all is not lost!”
I took a step back and said, “How bad can it be?”
I decided to forge ahead and I increased the flour to  compensate for the extra liquid content in the extra butter.  Then I increased the sugar, extracts and the Grand Marnier to flavor the added flour correctly.
I was shooting for the same consistency of dough as other biscotti I had made. About 3-1/2 cups of flour made that happen.
I made the logs and baked them. They looked great.
Then I let them cool slightly and sliced them into cookies  about 1/2-inch to 3/8-inch thick. Back into the oven for the second baking to dry them out.
I wondered if these cookies would be like biscotti or more like cake.
They are softer than most biscotti (all that butter). But, they are biscotti-like and boy are they delicious (all that butter).
And with all that butter and all that taste, I decided to call them  FattyBiscotti.
Enjoy and just say the heck with the calories.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Orange-Almond FattyBiscotti’

Tripple-Stacked Sorbet or Sherbet Dessert

Sometimes simple is the best. And this dessert could not be any simpler. We have had this many times and it is always a favorate of my family and our guests.
I have made it with sorbet and sherbet. Both work. But, I think of the two, sorbet is a little more elegant.
This dessert involves three pints of sorbet or sherbet left out on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes and then each flavor scooped into a ceramic bowl, like Corning Ware, that is large enough to hold three pints. Scoop the flavors in each individually and on top of one another.
Then refreeze.
Flavors are up to you. I like raspberry, orange, and lemon. I have also tried mango, strawberry, and lime. The possibilities are endless.
To serve, just cut square sections of the dessert making sure you cut through all three layers.  Then scoop out the squares so you see all three layers.  Top with a sprig of mint if you wish.
Delicious, fast and easy. Your guests will be amazed and refreshed.
It does not get any better than that.