Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cinnamon Swirl Bread


This bread is one of the first successful breads I made. The recipe was given to me by a woman I worked with at the RIT Counseling Center, CB. So delicious and pretty easy. 

It's very economical to make your own bread.  This loaf, which blows any cinnamon swirl bread out of the water, can be made for less than a dollar.  Two loaves for one dollar, if that, really.  One of the loaves is twice as big as the ones you find in a bag at the supermarket.  CrAzY, right?  And seriously, one day off, your doing things around the house, it won't take you any time at all.  You can even make multiples and freeze them or give them away to dazzle your friends and family! 

If you have instant yeast, you do not have to worry about having warm water to help with rising.  You always have to worry about liquids being too hot though.  The best way to test it is to stick your finger in the liquid, if you can keep your finger comfortably submersed for 15 seconds, your good to go.  If you don't use instant yeast, you will have to make sure your liquids are about 110°F

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) instant dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast 
1/3 cup warm water, maybe a bit more
1 cup warm whole milk 
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, butter, salt and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into an 18x8-in. rectangle; sprinkle each with about 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seam to seal. Place in two greased 9x5-in. loaf pans, seam side down.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

Saturday, April 7, 2018


I started my new job!  What????  Did my first week there and I really like it so far.  It has a lot of positives.  It's 40 hours and I do miss my old 35 hours a bit.  Getting home later leaves even less time for things that need to get done. Eh.  I am learning to live with not done and lower expectations.  

Thank Goodness for my little minions kids.  They do their part.  Thank goodness.  I definitely need to up their game a little.  They think Saturday morning is the be all end all of cleaning.  We need to work more on picking up after yourself and tidying up on a daily basis.  I can't complain though, I have great kids who are growing, very quickly, into fine young adults.  Don't get me wrong, things are no rosy... but hey, when are things rosy.

I gave my oldest daughter some choices on what cake she would like for her birthday.  She chose butter beer, all Harry Potter like.

I am going to give you two different recipes for this cake here.  The one with cream soda I made and found to be so very dense.  I like the idea of putting the pudding in but I don't think the cream soda much matters.  I think I need to tweak it a bit.  The flavor is good though.

The other cake is much lighter and more of the outcome I wanted.  

Somewhere in between these two cakes is the perfect cake.  I will get back to you on that.

Oh, the frosting... omg! COMPLETELY addicting.  Use it at your own risk!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3.5 oz butterscotch instant pudding mix one package
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs room temperature
1 1/4 cups cream soda clear
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.   Spray or grease and line 2- 9" rounds with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, pudding mix, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 4 mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
Alternate adding flour mixture and cream soda, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of cream soda). Fully incorporating after each addition.

Bake for about 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place cakes on wire rack to cool completely.


2 cups cake flour (like Swan's Down)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar or brown sugar blend, packed
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter flavoring

Preheat oven to 350F.   Spray or grease and line 2- 9" rounds with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 4 mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and butter flavoring.  Add buttermilk and finally the flour mixture. 

Bake for about 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place cakes on wire rack to cool completely.


1/4 cup butter, and 1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar or brown sugar blend

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 1/4 cup butter. Once the butter is browned, add the flour to the pot and whisk together.

Slowly whisk in the milk, working out any lumps. Keep whisking while bringing the mixture to a boil so it thickens.

Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and and let cool. If you try to move ahead while it is warm in anyway, this will not work. Be patient. Beat together butter and powdered sugar and then add flour mixture. Cream together until fluffy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Molasses Cookies

Now that the Holidays are done and everyon e is counting calories, I have time to post some of my favorite cookie recipes.  Ha!  Great timing, go me!

I don't like molasses cookie recipes that have so little molasses in them.  I like some serious molasses flavor!  I found this recipe on the Land O Lakes website


1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375°.  No need to grease cookie sheets.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves; beat at low speed until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate 1-2 hours or until firm.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten balls with glass dipped in sugar. Bake 8-11 minutes or until set.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


This was, by the way, the pretty side of the cake.

I found a cake recipe on the Internet and I am sad to say, it was an utter fail.  I think the idea behind the cake was fabulous and the cake itself was pretty good but I think I may tweak it a little.  The fluff frosting.  Ah, well there was the problem.  It was very tight, dense and heavy.  (I did make it twice too.) By the time it was ready to serve the cake the fluff had slid off the cake and connected itself en mass to the side of the dome cake cover.  Sigh.  So I had to cut it away from the side.  As I lifted it, it pulled the whole cake like a toupee, right off the top.  Finally, upon setting it down it looked like an utter mess.

I have made fluff before when I made Dorie Greenspan's marshmallows.  So I will use that recipe, of course, omitting the setting agent, gelatin.

Here is the recipe, in its original form.  I am not adding the person who posted the recipe because that is not my intent to point fingers.  I like the idea of the cake and there are many good points about it. It is a 'not too sweet cake' which is surprising as it is a s'more cake and we all know, if you ate a s'more, it's cloyingly sweet.  I will definitely make the cake again but with some tweakage.  I will keep you posted.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6" cake rounds, line with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
Add sugars and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not over mix.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula and whack the pans against the counter to evenly distribute.
Bake for approx. 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins. Whack the pans on the counter to loosen the cakes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

This would be great to just eat by the spoon

1/3 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup or honey
3 large egg whites room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place water, sugar, and corn syrup (or honey) in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and heat over medium-high. Do not stir from this point on as crystals will form.
Ensure mixer bowl and whisk are completely grease free.*
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
When the sugar syrup reaches about 225°F, start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks. Approx 3-4mins.
When the whites are ready, the sugar syrup should be at 240°F. Remove from the heat, turn mixer to medium and very slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin, steady stream.**
Once all of the syrup is in, set mixer to medium/high and continue whipping. The whites will deflate at first, but they will thicken and fluff up.
Continue to whip for 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Add in vanilla and whip until the fluff has cooled.
Pour into an airtight container and store for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


I wouldn't be lying if I told you that my dear hubby has been eating this stuff straight up.  I tried to explain that it is a condiment of sorts or a side to complement something else, like turkey.  He's pretty sure its perfectly okay to eat it by the spoon full!

The first time I made it, I did not have an orange to complete the recipe but I was all in at that point so I went ahead and made it anyway.  This past time I included the orange.  OMG!  It really made a difference.  I will be making it a third time very soon with the last of my frozen cranberries.


2 c. fresh cranberries
2/3 c. dark brown sugar
1 large orange, peeled, pith removed, cut into 1/4" slices
1 T. grated lime zest
3 T. fresh lime juice
1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pared, cored, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2-3 tablespoons water

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients, except cornstarch mixture, and cook on medium low until the cranberries have popped and everything is tender. Add the cornstarch and cook until it thickens.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Raspberry Rugelach

This year, instead of making 10,000 cookies, yes, that many, I decided to change it up a bit.  I asked my kids, husband and Mother which cookie they want most.  My daughter chose Rainbow Cookies, my other daughter chose sugar cookies, my husband chose cinnamon buns and my Mom chose rugelach.  Many years ago I made rugelach and it had cream cheese in the dough.  I could not find that recipe but found this one instead.  I liked it. I did add about a 1/4 cup more of flour though to the dough.  I also used regular saltine cracker crumbs (less salt) to the filling instead of bread crumbs, but other than that, followed it, pretty much to the letter.

I only had two of these.  I gave all that remained to my Mom.  I really must make it again.  It's so good and perfect with tea or coffee.

This recipe is largely based on this recipe at Serious Eats, click here.

4 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup, spooned; 118g), plus more for dusting
4 ounces cold unsalted butter (8 tablespoons; 115g), cut into large cubes
4 ounces cold cream cheese (8 tablespoons; 115g), cut into large cubes
1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight

1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup raspberry jam, homemade or a good-quality store-bought brand
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon (5ml) cool water
1 teaspoon sparkling sugar

For the Dough: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, butter, cream cheese, orange zest, and salt. Pulse 4 to 5 times, then turn the processor on and process until the dough forms a shaggy ball, about 1 minute.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and lightly flour your hands. If making crescent cookies, gently form a disk 5 inches in diameter. If making sliced cookies, form dough into a 3- by 4-inch rectangle. Dust surface with flour and wrap tightly. Lightly press with a rolling pin to smooth, then lightly tap the disk or rectangle's edges on the counter. The smoother the edges, the less prone they will be to cracking later on. Chill until the dough registers 40°F (4°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. The dough may be frozen for 3 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator to proceed.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the Filling: Pulse crackers until fine.  Empty out into a bowl.  Add the almonds to the processor and process until crumby but not like bread crumbs crumby.  The stage just before. Add those to the bowl with the cracker crumbs. Then add raspberry jam.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 4- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread filling over surface of dough using an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the two 12-inch edges.  Starting at one 12-inch edge, tightly roll dough into a spiral. Place roll on baking sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes. Place seam side down, using a sharp knife cut roll into 12 cookies, in narrow triangular wedges.  You can freeze these at this point.

Brush cookies' surface with egg wash using a small pastry brush. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake cookies until browned and flaky, about 22 to 25 minutes. Some filling may squish out; that’s okay. The bottoms of the rugelach should be caramelized, not blackened. Transfer the cookies (still on the parchment) to a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container, layered between sheets of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


What side of the pumpkin patch do you stand on?  As far as I am concerned, anything pumpkin is awesome.  Whether it is a decoration, kitchen item, food or a picture.  I love, love, love pumpkins.  Sweet or savory!  Yes!

I know everyone gets sick of seeing ten million pumpkin recipes in the fall on Pinterest.  Not me, bring it on baby.

If you are that person that can't stand pumpkin anything, then you are probably not even reading these lines.  If you are, then you probably want to move along because I am about to deliver some amazing pumpkin deliciousness in the form of a recipe.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Blend wet ingredients and add the dry to the wet.  Spoon or pipe on to greased baking sheets, heaping tablespoons for small or 1/4 cups measurements for large. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.  It really depends on the size of your 'pies'.  You can test them with a toothpick.

Once they have completely cooled, frost with your favorite frosting.  I did the following

8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces butter
1-2 tablespoons milk
3 cups give or take of confectioners sugar
pinch of salt