Tag Archives: sweet

Ginger Snaps

17 Nov

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I spent part of my summer hanging out with my dad in his cute little house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We have bonded a lot through food over the years and without fail, my dear ol’ always requests that we bake when I’m there. “We” mostly means me, but I’m more than happy to oblige. This time, he requested ginger snaps – one of his favorites and also something I had never made before. I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen! My poppa’s palate was pleased by these wholesome morsels and they are just perfect for the autumn and upcoming winter season with all of their aromatic spices.

Time: 30 minutes                   Yield: 18 cookies

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh grated ginger (these are strong in ginger flavor, if you want less use 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and butter. Mix until creamy and well incorporated. Add molasses and egg and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom . Slowly add dry ingredients into wet, mixing well to incorporate. Next, fold in ginger and mix well.
  • Place granulated sugar in a small shallow dish. Form dough into about 1″ balls. Roll dough in granulated sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet, allowing room between each as these spread as they bake.
  • Bake for 16 minutes in middle rack. Remove from oven, lift silpat or parchment paper and gently move to cool off of the hot baking sheet.

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Deep Dish Lemon Soufflé Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping

26 Jun

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One of my dearest friend’s, Ashley, and I made this on my birthday last month. It’s a riff on another friend’s recipe. I am in love with the flavor combo of lemon and blueberry so to me this is pure perfection!

Time: 30 minutes + 90 bake + cool                      Serves: 8-10

Ingredients


  • Crust


  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 30 Canelitas cookies (Mexican cinnamon cookies), processed to crumbs equaling 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 13 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling


  • 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Blueberry Topping


  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

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Here are the Canelita cookies. And me! With my Mexican feast and delicious cocktail. Not a bad way to spend a birthday, not at all.

How to make it


  • Crust


  • Combine cookie crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter (reserve one tbsp)  in a mixing bowl.
  • Spread remaining tbsp of melted butter on bottom and sides of a 6-inch spring-form pan. Sprinkle brown sugar around bottom.
  • Press cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan. Press down to make an even crust, going up the sides to create a deep-dish effect.
  • Wrap pan in aluminum foil to prevent the water bath from seeping in. Place in refrigerator to firm up while you make the filling.
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  • Filling


  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Put a pot of water on to simmer.
  • Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Continue beating, and gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt and heavy cream until well blended.
  • In a separate bowl, with clean dry beaters, combine egg whites, 1/3 tsp salt, and cream of tartar. Begin to beat, gradually adding remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Do not over-beat.
  • In three parts, fold egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture.
  • Remove pan from refrigerator. Place pan in a large roasting pan and pour hot water around it, going about 3/4 up the sides.
  • Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, place in refrigerator for at least two hours before you plan to serve.
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  • Topping


  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of blueberries, sugar, and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes until the berries burst. Remove from heat and stir in remaining berries. Set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled completely, spread over top of cooled cheesecake.

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Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread

15 Jun

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One of my fellow MasterChef 4 competitors invited me to write a guest post for her blog. I decided to share this delicious quick bread (or muffins – your choice!). Oh, and would you believe it’s low-fat and gluten-free?! Oh, yes!!! Please visit Celebration Generation for the recipe and other interesting tidbits about our MasterChef 4 experience.

Chile Citrus Shrimp

11 Jun

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A quick, flavorful recipe that can be served as an appetizer or main course. I served the shrimp over brown rice seasoned with butter, salt, and green onions as well as black beans with sauteed onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander and salt.

Time: 15 minutes                   Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveiend (I used Black Tiger)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

How to make it


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour mixture into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until thick and reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve.lunapic_1368472858702_22

Lavender Lemonade

27 May

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Summer in a glass. Refreshing and delicious, the light floral notes compliment the sweet and tart so nicely.

Time: 10 minutes                Serves: 7

Ingredients


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried lavender buds
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon pulp
  • 5 cups cold water

How to make it


  • Combine water, sugar, and lavender buds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisk, then reduce and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Strain lavender syrup into a large pitcher. Add lemon juice, pulp, and cold water. Stir and serve over ice.

Bacon Jam

19 May

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Oh yes I did!!! I whipped this up to go with the turkey burgers (recipe to follow) but the possibilities are endless! It takes some time to cook, but not long to prepare, and it is well worth it. Here are some ideas of how to enjoy this sweet, savory, and smoky delight: spread on toasted baguettes or crackers for a savory appetizer, pour some on top of brie and bake, spread on biscuits, waffles, pancakes and various sandwiches like fried egg, make a grilled cheese with it or a bacon jam BLT!

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour+ cook                   Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients


  • 1 pound apple wood smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 4 large red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water

How to make it


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to render fat crisp a bit.
  • Add onions. Turn temperature up to high until they start caramelising slightly.
  • Add the garlic and bay leaf and fry for another minute.
  • Add the smoked paprika, salt and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Add the sugar, apple juice and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 and thickened to the consistency to be able to cover a spoon easily but not be too syrupy or thick.
  • Skim excess fat off top if needed. Then transfer to a food processor fitted with an S-blade or use an immersion blender to blend the jam until there are no big chunks of onion/bacon left.
  • Carefully transfer the jam into a sterilised jam jar and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature.

Nutella Pretzel Bars

26 Apr

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These are a fun way to celebrate National Pretzel Day! I got inspiration for this dessert from a cook named nicoled on Tasty Kitchen’s website.

Time: 40 minutes                Serves: 9

Ingredients


  • 8 tbsp butter, melted plus extra (about 1tbsp) for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels, divided (I used cajun seasoned pretzels)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Brush an 8×8 baking pan with butter, line with a sheet of parchment leaving 2″ overhang on both edges. Butter the parchment.
  • In a large bowl, whisk butter, sugars, and Nutella until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour, mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 cup of crushed pretzels. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread in an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with remaining crushed pretzels.
  • Bake until tip is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes (mine took 25 minutes). Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift bars from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares (I cut mine into 9 large ones, you can make them smaller if you wish). Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days – if they last that long!