Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

img_3921Here is another easy dessert recipe.  It is Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake (Barefoot Contessa Food Network)  I loved the ease of preparation.  While she recommends a specific brand of chocolate chip cookie, I used a generic crunch chocolate chip cookie (it softens overnight).  The dessert reminds me of Tiramisu.  No baking involved!  Icebox cakes are layers of cookies and whipped cream/cream cheese in a spring form cake form and refrigerated overnight. Next day simply cut around the cake and release the sides of the cake form.  Slice and enjoy!

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 packet instant espresso coffee (like Starbucks brand instant coffee single)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 24 oz crisp chocolate chip cookies
  • shaved milk chocolate for garnish

Instructions:

In your mixing bowl, add whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, instant espresso coffee, and vanilla extract.  With the whisk attachment mix the ingredients on low speed until combined; then increase to medium speed and whip until soft peaks form.

In the bottom of a 8 inch spring form cake pan, place a layer of chocolate chip cookies in the bottom of the cake pan.  Break cookies into smaller pieces to fill in any gaps.  Spread one fifth of the whip cream mixture over the top of the cookies all the way to the edge of the pan.  Repeat with cookies alternating with whipped cream until you have 5 layers of cookies and a fifth layer of whipped cream at the top.  Use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate shavings to top the whipped cream for garnish.  Cover the spring form pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Carefully cut around the edge of the spring form cake pan loosening the whipping cream from the edge.  Carefully open the form and remove the sides.

Cut the cake into 10 slices and serve.

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Mennonite Apple Crumble

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My mother sent me this recipe some time ago, but I never got around to trying it.  It is similar to Apple Crisp, but sweeter. My family loved this dessert.  It is especially good served warm with ice cream of whipped cream.  Best of all, it is really easy to prepare.  I think next time I will increase the apples to 7 or 8 granny smith apples from the 5 I used this time.

Here is the recipe:

Mennonite Apple Crumble

Serves 5  |  adapted from an old Mennonite Recipe Book

Crumble topping:

  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Apple filling:

  • 5-8 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions:

Melt the butter.  In a small bowl, combine the oatmeal, sugar, baking soda and stir.  Add the melted butter and stir into the oatmeal mixture.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt and stir to combine.  Add the apple pieces and stir to coat with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Evenly spread the apple mixture in a greased baking dish (spray with Pam).  Top the apples with the oatmeal topping and gently press the crumble over the apples.

Bake at 375 F for 35 to 40 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Peach Crisp

IMG_9865When I think of summer, I think of peaches.. there are few things in the world that are as good as the peaches I have eaten in South Jersey – juicy, drippy, goodness.  Well, I am in Southern California, and bought some peaches that were begging to be used up.  I found this recipe for Peach Crisp in my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.  Unfortunately, I did not have as many peaches as the recipe called for, because two of them had gone bad, but I used what I had: 4 large peaches. Reading over the ingredients, I found I had everything except for lemon zest to make this dish, so make it I did. And yummy it was.

Peach Crisp

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook (15th Anniversary Edition page 804)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3 lbs of peaches, peeled, pitted and cut up into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional

Crumble Topping:

  • 6 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Place the peach pieces in a pie dish. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir with a fork.  Add the pieces of butter and work with your hands to combine them into a crumb like topping. Stir in the pecan pieces.

Spread the crumb topping across the top of the peach filling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Cook an additional 5 minutes at 400 if the topping is not browned.

Serve warm.  Great with ice cream of whipped cream.

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

IMG_8349My husband loves Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.  I recently made one in my cast iron skillet and it turned out great (other than the fact that I used a 12 inch skillet instead of a 10 inch the recipe called for, but it was still delicious – I had to reduce the cooking time as a result. ) I will be getting a 10 inch cast iron skillet soon, so I can make this correctly.  The recipe is from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion it is a real treasury for baking that I really recommend.  I have made a few recipes from this book and the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a keeper as well. (Amazon: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion)

I overdid it on Maraschino cherries.. but my family says there is no such thing!  I also omitted the nuts, but I will leave them in the recipe so you can decide if you want it in yours.  My husband said it was like the cake he remembers having as a child.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion p 376

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 (16 oz) can pineapple rings, drained (juice reserved)
  • 12 to 16 maraschino cherries (or more … like the whole jar! minus the two you ate)
  • 16-20 pecan or walnut halves, optional
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet (though I used a 12 inch and it turned out okay too… just reduced the cooking time, but the cake was very thin).  Sprinkle the dark brown sugar into the melted butter and place the pineapple on top.  Arrange the maraschino cherries inside the pineapple rings and additional gaps.  If you are also using nuts, place those in the gaps in addition to the cherries.

In a medium bowl, soft the flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.  Combine the pineapple juice and vanilla and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the eggs until they have thickened and are light in color.  Sprinkle in the sugar with the mixer running.  Add the pineapple juice mixture and slow the mixer down as you add the flour mixture to the batter gradually.  Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute.

Pour the batter over your pineapple rings and cherries.  Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until the center is springy to the touch and the cake is pulling away from the sides of your cast iron skillet.  Remove it from the oven.  Then place a serving platter upside down on the skillet and carefully (with oven mitts!) invert the pan over the platter- allow the pan to stay over the cake for about 5 minutes or longer so that the sugar drips back down onto the cake.  The cake should have loosened enough from the pan to easily transfer to the plate leaving the beautiful pineapple rings exposed.  Slice into 10 wedges and serve.

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C is for Cookie

img_7928As  Thanksgiving breathes down our necks and see Christmas quickly approaching like an out of control freight train, my mind becomes obsessed with foods that I love at this time of year.  Of course, Christmas cookies are not optional and I want to share some of my favorites with all of you, so you also can be obsessed with me.  I was asking my children which cookies they wanted this year and these were all in the running.

My favorites are:

Black Dog Restaurant Ginger Cookies

This recipe yields a large batch of  beautiful chewy ginger cookies that are a Christmas favorite.  If I only had time to make one homemade cookie at this time of year it would be the one I would choose to make!

Hazelnut Chewies (Nutella Cookies)

I love Nutella.  I grew up with the stuff and was pleased to find that I could get it in the States as well.  My husband once asked me why I did not buy them, and I sheepishly admitted that I did buy it and have it… but have a hard time sharing it.  Ha!  Well, when I make these cookies, I do share them and they are great!  Soft and chewy texture. It does use a whole jar of Nutella though – but I promise it will be worth it.  Now to find a new hiding place for my stash!

Orange Zest Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

I found these last year, in an effort to find cookies similar to ones my Mom used to make.  My mom did not have the recipe anymore, but I was determined to find a replacement and this one is really close!  The glaze gives the orange flavor an extra boost.  I love these a lot.

Spritz Cookies

These cookies are pressed out of a cookie press.  They are very popular in Europe.  This recipe I found from allrecipes.com – one of my favorite sites to go to for recipes that are rated by members.

Shortbread Cookies

This recipe is actually on blogspot on my first food blog I made, but never transferred the recipe to wordpress.. I need to work on that!  It is a good recipe for shortbread and the dough though a large amount is easy to work with and has a nice flavor.

Chocolate Rum Balls

This is another recipe that was on my first blog.  It is one of those recipes you make and share with other adults and  keep away from the kids (or substitute orange juice for the rum and make them a yummy batch that they can eat).  I do not make this every year, I could easily become addicted to them.

Homemade Marshmallows

I made these for a party recently.  Homemade marshmallows do require a candy thermometer to make them, but they are well worth the effort and are way better than the store bought ones.  They actually melt in hot cocoa and are so good!

I hope you enjoy trying some of my favorites.  Merry Christmas!

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Quick Appetizer and Dessert

I was recently asked to contribute appetizers and a dessert for a function at our church.  I love to cook, and was of course happy to help.  I was a bit of a procrastinator though in planning, so I made 2 simple appetizers and a simple dessert.

The first easy to make appetizer was a platter of skewered cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and basil leaves.  A drizzle of balsamic vinegar would put i over the  top, but because my appetizer would sit in the refrigerator for 3 hours before the event, I left the vinegar off.

I  found sandwich picks at Smart and Final that were nearly 3 inches in length – longer than toothpicks which is perfect for this appetizer. Here is what you need:

Tomato Kabobs

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  • 3 inch skewers or sandwich picks
  • cherry tomatoes, washed
  • cherry sized mozzarella balls (I used Mozzarella Fresca by Galbani)
  • whole basil leaves

To assemble: Place one cherry tomato on the skewer, followed by a mozzarella ball, then a leaf of basil and another cherry tomato. Place along edge of a round platter and layer until you like the look.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar just before serving if desired.

 

Cucumber Sandwiches

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This is so easy! Cut the crusts of a white bread that you like.  Spread one side of the bread slices with a purchased garlic spread and top with thinly sliced cucumber slices.  Top with second piece of bread that also has the garlic spread.  Slice diagonally.  Serve. That’s it!

Dessert:

Purchased pound cake cut into rounds (or squares) to fit inside your dessert dishes.  I found small 5 oz clear dessert dishes and made 24 desserts for the event.

It does take a little time to assemble and chill, but look beautiful for a short list of ingredients.

Strawberry Dessert

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  • 1 pound cake, thawed and sliced into thin slices
  • fresh strawberries, washed and sliced into 4 pieces (arranged along edge of dessert dish, cut side out)
  • Jell-o (large box) lemon flavor
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (16 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
  • Whipped Cream (from can)

First cut the sliced pound cake into rounds that fit inside your dessert dish (you need 2 per dessert).  Place one of the pound cake pieces in the bottom of the dessert dish.  Line the sides of the dish with sliced of strawberries (cut side facing out) – my dishes  were small, so I only fit 4 slices in each.  Use more or less as needed.

Prepare the jell-o.  Mix 2 cups boiling water into a bowl with the lemon flavored jell-o.  Whisk to combine. Place the bowl of jell-o into the refrigerator for 25 minutes.  The jell-o will still be warm when you remove it from the refrigerator.  Whisk in the thawed cool whip.  Ladle 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of the dessert dishes, try not to disturb the strawberries.  Use more to cover the tips of the strawberries.  Cover with saran wrap and chill for about 1 hour.  Remove the desserts from the refrigerator.  Remove the saran wrap and place a second round of pound cake on the jell-o.  Top each dessert  with whipped cream just before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 


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Strawberry Pound Cake

IMG_7259 Strawberry season has arrived in Southern California.  I stopped at a stand and picked up some beautiful berries.  This dessert is one of our favorites and is really simple to make!  My husband likes pound cake more than short cake, so this is our new Strawberry Short Cake. I agree it is better (and easier) to make.

Strawberry Pound Cake

Serves 6

  • 1 frozen family size pound cake, thawed
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • whipped cream

Instructions:

Place sliced strawberries in a bowl with 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Slice the thawed pound cake into 12 equal slices. Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat.  Melt butter in the pan and place a few pound cake slices in the skillet.  Sprinkle the pound cake with sugar and turn over.  Sprinkle second side with sugar.  After the first side has browned, flip to brown second side.

To assemble: Place two slices of the grilled pound cake on a dessert plate. Spoon some strawberries over the pound cake. Top with whipped cream.

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