recipe

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

I get a little nostalgic when I make Hawaiian Wedding Cake. This recipe was very popular when I was a kid. I don’t know a lot of people making it anymore- and that is a shame. The cake is very tasty and quite easy to make.

This recipe proves that you don’t always need a lot of time, to bake a homemade dessert. You can make this moist and tasty cake in less time than it takes to make a box mix cake. Really. The ingredients are all combined at once in a mixing bowl, and stirred by hand until mixed.

Of course, time saving means nothing if the dessert doesn’t taste good. The cake is really good. It is studded with nuts, coconut and has plenty of pineapple in it, too. Once baked and cooled, it can be topped with cream cheese frosting, powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. You can even leave it plain.

The cake can make a nice gift, too. Use small foil loaf pans- and divide the batter among them, filling half way. Bake at the same temperature, but for a shorter time.

The mix of tropical ingredients certainly inspired the name of this cake. I don’t really know if people in Hawaii actually ever serve this cake at weddings. I like to think that they did. I do know how much I like it. I think you will, too.

 

 

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

2 c. flour

2 eggs

1 (20oz.) can crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained

1 c. shredded coconut

1 c. sugar

1 c. chopped walnuts

2 t. baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool and dust with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or frost. Serves 12.

Frosting recipe:

8 oz. Cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. powdered sugar

1 stick butter, room temperature

Beat all together until fluffy. Frost cake and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Cake should be golden brown on top when baked

Cake should be golden brown on top when baked

 

Maple-Glazed Apple Bacon Fritters

Maple-Glazed Apple and Bacon Fritters

Maple-Glazed Apple and Bacon Fritters

This time of year, with apples in season, it is fun to use them in all sorts of recipes. I’ve made an assortment of both sweet and savory dishes with them. This is one of my favorites. What could be better than combining apples with bacon in a sweet treat? The sweetness of the apples pairs so well with the smoky/saltiness of the bacon.

Fritters aren’t difficult to make. They really don’t take that long to make, either. I prefer to make them close to when I am serving them- so my guests can enjoy them warm.

They make a wonderful dessert, or a fun addition to a breakfast or brunch menu. I dipped them in the maple glaze, which also went well with the apples and bacon.

 

I must warn you, they are addictive.

 

 

 

Apple and Bacon Fritters

2 c. flour

2 T. sugar

2 T. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 c. milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 T. melted butter

1 c. diced apples

1 c. cooked, crumbled bacon

oil for frying- I used coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Mix together milk with the eggs and butter. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened and add the apples and bacon. Heat oil to 375. If using gluten free flour, heat oil to 350. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Don’t do more than 4-5 at a time. It will take about  4 minutes in total but you need to turn them to brown evenly so 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Dip in maple glaze (recipe follows) while warm. Makes about 32.

Maple Glaze

1 c. Powdered sugar

1/2 c. maple syrup

a little water if mixture gets too thick

Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Winter Squash Ravioli Soup

Squash Ravioli Soup

Squash Ravioli Soup

After cooking up a Hubbard squash, I was looking for a way to use some of it in a soup. It is chilly here and I was in the mood for soup, but I wasn’t in the mood for a pureed soup. I found inspiration in my freezer. I was putting some of the squash in the freezer, when I noticed a package of won ton wrappers. I decided to use the squash as a filling for ravioli, then just put the ravioli in the soup. I played with the spices and added some butter to the filling, too. It needed that extra bit of fat for flavor. It worked well. I just cooked the ravioli right in the soup, but you could also enjoy them without soup at all. You can just cook the ravioli in water. Once they are tender, drain and top with the sauce of your choice. I like brown butter with a little sage, but even a red sauce would be nice with the ravioli. Here is the recipe- for both the ravioli and the soup. Almost any winter squash or pumpkin could work in the filling, too.

 

Squash Ravioli Soup

Ravioli:
24 round won ton/dumpling wrappers
Filling:
1 cup cooked winter squash or pumpkin
2 T. softened butter
1 T. chopped parsley
1 t. paprika
1 t. nutmeg
½ t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne

Soup:
2 T. oil or butter
2 onions, peeled and sliced
6 c. stock- chicken or veggie
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 c. thinly sliced collard greens
Salt and pepper
Dash of hot sauce
Fresh chopped parsley

Combine ravioli filling. Adjust seasonings. Place a rounded tablespoonful of filling on one of the wrappers. Dampen edges with water and place another wrapper on top. Seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Continue with remaining filling and wrappers- you should have 12 raviolis in all. Set aside while making the soup.
Heat oil or butter in a pot and add the onions. Cook until onions are tender. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add carrots and collards and cook until veggies are tender. Add seasonings and bring soup to a boil. Add the raviolis and let the soup simmer gently until they are cooked- about 4 minutes. Stir a little to keep them from sticking, but gently. They get a lot bigger and are sort of delicate. Transfer gently with a large spoon to soup bowls and ladle over the soup. Serves 4- 6.

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Autumn Cabbage with Apples

Autumn Cabbage with Apples

Autumn Cabbage with Apples

I think cabbage is underrated. It is such a versatile vegetable. Cabbage is good in both hot and cold dishes, it isn’t expensive, and cabbage is good for you. I was looking for a side dish for a duck dinner the other night and I decided to start with cabbage. Since I had a pretty good sized head of green cabbage and just a small piece of red cabbage, I mixed the two together. I added cider vinegar, sugar and seasonings. Then I added apples to round out the dish. It had a sweet and sour flavor that went well with the duck. I’d also serve this as a side dish with ham, pork or even a lamb roast. It would go well with any of them. You could use any color cabbage for this dish- or combine colors, as I did. Perfect for a Fall dinner.

  Autumn Cabbage with Apples

2-3 T. oil

2-3 onions, sliced thin

8 c. chopped cabbage, any color

1 c. stock- chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. celery seeds

3 apples, peeled , cored and diced

salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until tender and a little wilted. Add cabbage, stock, vinegar, sugar and celery seeds and cook until cabbage is tender. Most of the liquid will evaporate. Add the apples and cook until apples are just heated through. Season with salt and hot sauce and serve. Serves 5-6.

Apple Pie Blintzes

Apple Pie Blintzes

Apple Pie Blintzes

Since I posted the recipe for making your own apple pie filling yesterday, I thought I’d share a fun way to use it- other than in a pie. I made blintzes with the pie filling. I used flour tortillas for the crepes.

I soaked the tortillas in milk – actually I soaked them in almond milk because that is what I had- but you could use regular milk if you prefer. By soaking the tortillas in milk, they soften up and can be used like a crepe. Soak them for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes. I placed the tortillas in a shallow baking pan and made sure to drizzle each one with almond milk as I added them to the pan.

For the filling, I used some of my homemade apple pie filling. If you have fresh apples, you can just peel and slice the apples, then cook them in a little water and sugar until softened. You can make them as sweet as you like. You made need less sugar if the apples are extra sweet.  Add some cinnamon and nutmeg, too. If they are too watery- combine a little cornstarch with cold water and drizzle the mixture in until the apples thicken up. Don’t add too quickly or you might them too thick and gummy.

To assemble the blintzes, place a softened tortilla on your work surface and spoon a little apple filling in the middle. You can do this with hot filling, or even make the filling ahead of time and use it cold. Don’t over fill them or you won’t be able to fold them up. I used 8-inch tortillas and used about 1/4 cup of filling for each one. Fold the sides in until they almost meet in the middle and them roll the tortilla up to cover the filling. Place seam side down until ready to fry them.

Heat  butter in a skillet,  and brown the blintzes over medium heat until lightly toasted on both sides. They will be crispy on the outside, but tender in the middle. Put on a serving plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while warm. These are fine just as they are, but feel free to add ice cream or whipped cream, too.

My guests really liked them and said they did not realize they were made from tortillas. I have made these before and use different fruit fillings. I’ve even made a cheese filled version a few times. It seems I usually have a package of tortillas, so it is a go-to dessert for me in a pinch.

 

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

While I think the best pie is made with fresh apples, I also like making and canning my own apple pie filling. It is a handy way for me to enjoy local apples throughout the year. It is also a whole lot better than any commercial pie filling I have tried. Loaded with plenty of big chunks of apples and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg- I think it the next best thing to fresh apples for baking.

I use my canned filling  to make pies, but I also use it for kolachy, blintzes, cakes and more.

The hard part, for some, is getting a hold of Clear Gel. It is a special type of cornstarch. I buy mine on line, but you can find it in stores where the Amish shop. Clear Gel stays thick, even if it is reheated. Regular cornstarch will not.

Here is the recipe I use. You can tweak the seasonings to suit your own taste, but keep in mind that spices sometimes get stronger when canned, so don’t go too crazy!!

 

Apple Pie Filling

6 qts. apples, sliced and blanched

5 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. Clear Gel- modified cornstarch available on line and in Amish stores

1 T. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

2 1/2 c. cold water

5 c. apple juice

3/4 c. lemon juice

If apples lack tartness use an additional 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Wash, peel and core apples and cut into 1/2 thick slices. Place in water treated with either lemon juice, citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent darkening. Remove from solution and drain well. Blanch in boiling water- 2 quarts at a time- for 1 minute. As you finish each batch place in a bowl and cover to keep warm. In large pot combine sugar, Clear Gel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute. Add drained apples and stir gently to combine. Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving 1 1/2 inches of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process in a boiling water bath- pints or quarts for 25 minutes. After the time is up, turn off canner and let jars sit in water bath for 5 minutes before removing. This will reduce the chance of siphoning.  Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints.

For only 1 quart

3 1/2 c.apples

3/4 plus 2 T. sugar

1/4 c. Clear Gel

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/2 c. cold water

3/4 c. apple juice

2 T. lemon juice

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

These Chocolate Biscotti are a favorite of mine. They are not too sweet and have plenty of chocolate flavor. If you haven’t made your own biscotti before, you should. These crisp, twice baked cookies, are easy to make. The second bake is where biscotti get their famous crunch. They are baked until they have this lovely crisp texture, meant to be dipped in coffee.

Handy tip: Once biscotti are baked the first time, they are sliced and baked a second time. Most recipes call for you to turn the biscotti over half way through the second bake- to get them crisp/dried evenly. To save time, I just place a cooling rack on my baking sheet before the second bake. I then lay the sliced biscotti on the cooling rack. Now, during baking, air flows under the biscotti and there is no need to turn them over while baking. Saves time.

 

Chocolate Biscotti

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
2 eggs
3/4 c. chocolate syrup
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (mini, regular or flavored)
1 c. chopped nuts, optional
3 oz. white chocolate

Grease 2 9×5-inch loaf pans and set aside. Beat sugar and butter together than beat in eggs and syrup. Beat in dry ingredients. Dough will be soft. Stir in chips and nuts. Divide batter in prepared pans and use spatula to spread evenly. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes. Tester inserted in center should come out clean. Turn loaves onto rack and cool 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300-degrees. Using a serrated knife cut loaves into 3/4 -inch slices. Place cooling rack on a baking sheet. Place biscotti slices cut side down on cooling  rack and bake about 18-19 minutes. Cookies will become harder/crisper as they cool. Cool completely. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over biscotti. Allow to set up. Makes about 2 dozen.

Homemade Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

There are few aromas I like more than freshly baked bread.  I don’t bake much during the hot summer months and look forward to cool Autumn days and fresh baked bread. I enjoy baking all sorts of breads. Today I made Pumpernickel Bread. The dark color comes from a mixture of rye flour, strong coffee, cocoa powder and molasses. These ingredients also give this bread a richness and texture I adore. It’s hard for me to find a store bought Pumpernickel bread that comes close to this one. Some store bakeries rely on caramel coloring for the color in the bread. For real flavor you need the real ingredients.

 

Pumpernickel Bread

2 Packages active dry yeast

½ c. warm water

2 c. lukewarm strong coffee

¼ c. each molasses and unsweetened cocoa

2 T. Caraway seeds

2 t. salt

5-6 c. flour- I use bread flour

2 c. rye flour

Cornmeal

1 egg white, slightly beaten

 

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in coffee, molasses, cocoa, seeds, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon about 2 minutes. Stir in rye flour and enough of the remaining regular flour to make soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rest until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

Punch down dough, divide in 2, and form into balls. Place on baking sheet and cover. Let rise until double, brush with egg whites, slash tops and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Amaretto Pear Blintzes with Candied Almonds

Amaretto Pear Blintz with Candied Almonds

Amaretto Pear Blintz with Candied Almonds

I have a dear friend visiting from out of town. I wanted to make her a special dish for brunch today. I had some beautiful fresh pears and some tortillas, so I used them together. Since she likes all things almonds, I included them in the dish, too. I also added some Amaretto to the pears. Martha gave them two thumbs up. She would have said how much she liked them, but her mouth was full.

When she was able to speak, she said they reminded her of apple pie. In fact, she didn’t believe me at first, when I said they were pears. If you like the taste of homemade fruit pie, but don’t have the time to bake, these are a nice option. Because they are barely cooked, the pears retain some shape. In a pie, they tend to fall apart.

Since we had them for brunch, I left them plain, but these would make a great dessert topped with whipped cream or ice cream. Even a dusting of powdered sugar, would be nice. Simple and quite flavorful.

 

 

Amaretto Pear Blintzes with Candied Almonds

 

Blintzes:

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas, I used whole wheat

2 oz. milk

2 T. butter

Filling:

4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced

½ c. brown sugar

2 T. butter

2 T. Amaretto

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

Pinch of salt

Almonds:

¾ c. sliced almonds

½ c. sugar

¼ c. water

½ t. cinnamon

 

Place tortillas in shallow dish and drizzle the milk over them. Try to get some milk on each of the tortillas to soften them. While the tortillas are softening, prepare the filling. In medium skillet, combine pears with the rest of the filling ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside. Combine almonds with the sugar, water and cinnamon in medium skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Cook until liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour almonds onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or foil. Spread out and allow nuts to cool.

 

Place butter in skillet and start to heat up the pan. While pan is heating, divide pear filling among the 4 tortillas. Place filling along center of tortilla and fold up edges over, to cover the filling. Heat the tortillas, seam side down, in the pan until golden, turning to toast evenly on both sides. Remove from pan and place on serving plate. Top with some of the candied almonds. Serves 4.

 

 

Firecracker Chicken Appetizer

 

Firecracker Chicken Appetizer

Firecracker Chicken Appetizer

Sometimes the best recipes happen when you don’t have time to plan. This is one of those recipes. Even better because it only uses 4 ingredients. I needed an appetizer, but didn’t have extra time for prep. I also did not have time to go to the store, so used what I had on hand. I had some boneless chicken breasts. I cut them into strips and poured a bunch of hot sauce over them. Put them in the fridge to marinade overnight.  The next day I just tossed the chicken strips in breadcrumbs and fried them in a little oil. Served with extra hot sauce on the side, they were a big hit.

Firecracker Chicken

2 lbs. boneless chicken, I used breasts, but thighs would be good

3/4 c. hot sauce, plus extra when serving

2 c. bread crumbs

2 c. oil, for pan frying

Cut chicken into strips and place in a bowl. Pour over the hot sauce and stir to coat evenly. Cover and chill overnight, or even for a couple of days. Place bread crumbs in a plastic bag. Place a small handful of chicken in the bag and shake to coat. Place on a plate and continue with the rest of the chicken. Heat oil in skillet to 350- 375 degrees. fry chicken in several batches- you don’t want to crowd them in the skillet- that will make the oil col down too much. Fry for a minute or two per side. Remove to platter lined with paper towels and cook the rest of the chicken. Keep chicken warm until ready to serve. serve with extra hot sauce on the side. Serves 8 or more as an appetizer, but can be served as a main dish, too.