Sauces

Apricot Sauce

A few years ago I have a plethora of fresh apricots, more than I could eat. I looked for an apricot sauce recipe and enjoyed the results. I froze much of the sauce and found it to be just as delicious a few weeks later!

Apricot Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
  • ½ pound apricots, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
DIRECTIONS:
  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the apricots to a simmer. Cover and cook until apricots are completely tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer apricot mixture and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse until sauce is blended but still slightly chunky. Taste and add more sugar if you like. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm or chilled.
  • Make ahead: Up to 1 week; keep chilled.

Recipe from MyRecipes

Desserts · Family Favorites · Holidays · Italian Dishes · New Favorite · New Traditions

Pears in Red Wine Sauce

During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas.  We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise.  We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!

When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer.  It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE

6-8 Pears
1 Bottle Red Wine
8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves

  • In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
  • If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after
    cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4
    cup water and mix with the wine.
  • Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.

Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli

Candy · Family Favorites · Holidays

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

There is something decadent about chocolate with something salty. Chocolate dipped pretzels are a favorite of mine and last Christmas I made Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Rods in white chocolate and with dark chocolate to give as gifts. Ahem…except for those that didn’t make it past my mouth!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED PRETZEL RODS

White Chocolate Chips
Dark Chocolate Chips
Pretzel Rods
Sugars and Sprinkles

  • Spread waxed paper on cookie sheets.
  • Melt chocolate  per instructions in microwave and pour melted chocolate into cup for dipping (makes about the right depth on the pretzel rods).
  • Over a separate plate or bowl, sprinkle the pretzel rods with sugar or sprinkles and place on waxed paper to harden.
  • Place pretzel rods in pretty tin or cello bag to give as gifts.

 

New Favorite

Blackberry Peach Coffee Cake

Fresh fruit…pies, cakes, coffee cakes or naked is my favorite dessert or breakfast treat.  This recipe, from Southern Living, caught my eye and with more beautiful peaches and a box of fresh blackberries, I had to try it.

My oven bakes a little hot, so the bottom is quite brown but still delicious.  This recipe will stay in my recipe box and perhaps a straight peach coffee cake will be in the plan for next summer!

BLACKBERRY PEACH COFFEE CAKE

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well. Add flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat just until blended.

Cake:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups peeled and sliced fresh firm, ripe peaches (about 2 large peaches, 7 oz. each)
1 cup fresh blackberries

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare Streusel Topping.
  • Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan (I used a small oblong pyrex baking dish).
  • Top with sliced peaches and blackberries. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of Streusel Topping, and drop over fruit.

 

  • Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until center of cake is set. (A wooden pick inserted in center will not come out clean.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 1/2 hours). Dust with powdered sugar. Garnish, if desired.

  • Peach Coffee Cake: Omit blackberries. Increase peaches to 3 cups sliced (about 3 large peaches, 7 oz. each). Proceed with recipe as directed.
Family · Family Favorites

Fresh Peach Cobbler…summertime favorite

Fresh peaches are a summer treat!  I have fond memories, as a kid, of biting into a fresh peach and have the juice run down my arms and all over my face. I was a sticky mess, but loving that peach!

English: juicy peach half

Colorado peaches are some of the best and I’m lucky enough to live in the great state that produces them. To date, I’ve not seen Colorado peaches at the market but Costco has had wonderful peaches this summer. What better dessert to serve visiting family topped with vanilla ice cream! The recipe is from my tried and true Farm Journal Country Cookbook, 1972 a gift from the folks at Farm Journal many years ago when I worked in Agri-Marketing for an ad agency in St. Joe, MO. The cookbook has seen a lot of love and even though it’s spine is broken, it continues to support my love of good home-cooking!

IMG_0041

Our Book Club potluck was coming up, featuring the book Proof of Heaven a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D.  Our potluck theme was ‘what would you have for your last meal?’  I tripled the recipe so I could have enough Cobbler for the Book Club and for visiting family.  It was hit with both groups. It’s delicious (even if I do say so myself) and a wonderful summer treat.

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

Peach Mixture:

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup water
4 cups sweetened sliced peeled peaches
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Mix cornstarch, brown sugar, and water.  Add peaches and cook until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Add butter and lemon juice.  Pour into a greased 8″ round or square baking dish.

Batter Topping:

1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and egg.  Beat until butter is smooth.

Drop spoonfuls of Batter Topping over hot peach mixture.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon white sugar.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 40 to 50 minutes.  Serve warm, in bowls, with vanilla ice cream.

 

Adapted from Farm Journal Country Cookbook

New Favorite

Gooseberry Tart

Gooseberry bushes are prickly and the berries are tedious to clean but gooseberries lovers are willing to sacrifice for the greater good of a delicious, seasonal tart, pie, or cobbler.   My gooseberry picking buddy, Joe the Golden Retriever, was anxious to eat these sour gems again this year.  I decided to try giving a raw gooseberry to my grand-dogs as well with an equally positive response.  Who knew that gooseberries were a treat of choice for the canine crowd?

I love the slight sweetness of this crust and the creamy custard surrounding the cooked gooseberries.  My kids and their spouses, however, turned up their noses at my creation since they cannot fathom eating gooseberries.  Oh well…more for the rest of us.  Someday…they’ll wish they had a piece, right?

GOOSEBERRY TART

1 pound cleaned gooseberries
3 eggs
3.5 ounces of sugar
10 ounces heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pastry:

1.2 cups flour (or more to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup very cold, unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
a little ice cold water

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make the pastry by processing the flour and sugar together.  Chop the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour and sugar.  Pulse (or blend by hand) until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Mix the egg yolk with a little ice-cold water.  Add to the flour mixture and pulse until the pastry forms a soft ball.  Add ice-cold water if needed to achieve desired consistency.  Chill the dough for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and place on floured surface.  Roll to fit the tart pan and place in pan.  Pierce the bottom and sides of the pastry with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • Combine eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla extract.  Place gooseberries in bottom of tart pastry and pour egg mixture over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes until the center is firm.

Servings:  6-8

New Favorite

Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Our baby shower treats of last Saturday focused on baby-sized treats, including Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  Who doesn’t love a Snickerdoodle cookie…so why not a cupcake?  They could easily be adapted to a full-size cupcake without a problem.  They are yummy, yummy in the tummy as I will soon say to my first Grandbaby.

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MINI SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Cinnamon Frosting

6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or more to achieve desired consistency)

Garnish

2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Makes 98+ mini muffins.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
  • Divide butter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
  • Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about (10-15 minutes). (Cathy’s Note: Each oven varies greatly with mini cupcakes, so do a test run.)
  • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
  • Frost mini cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted.  Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Cupcake recipe adapted from:  Martha Stewart
Icing recipe from:  Betty Crocker

New Favorite

Pignoli…almond and pine nut decadence!

Italian Tony’s Market in the Denver area makes wonderful Pignoli.  Pignoli cookies are an Italian American confection, similar to a macaroon and topped with pine nuts. This week I was in search of a recipe I could make them at home. There were many wonderful recipes but this recipe was my final choice.  They were fantastic!

PIGNOLI COOKIES

12 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups pine nuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  • Mix almond paste and granulated sugar in food processor until smooth.
  • Add confectioner’s sugar and 2 egg whites; process until smooth.
  • Whisk remaining 2 egg whites in small bowl.
  • Place pine nuts on shallow plate. With lightly floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat balls in egg whites, shaking off excess, then roll in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick to dough.
  • Arrange balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly to form a 1 1/2 inch round.

  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes (watch carefully because each oven and baking pan is different) until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com:  Pignoli Cookies 1

Family Favorites · My Roots

Peanut Blossoms…a Valentine’s kiss!

Peanut Blossoms have been a family favorite since I was a child.  I loved them, my children love them and the tradition continues.  What beats the combination of peanut butter and chocolate!  It seems fitting to make a batch of peanut blossoms for your sweetheart with the famous Hershey KISSES as Valentine’s Day approaches.

I was curious about the origin of Hershey’s Kisses.  Per Wikipedia, Hershey’s Kisses milk chocolates were introduced in 1907. The candy got its name because the machine made kiss sounds as the chocolate kiss is created.

These cookies are good anytime of year.  What is sweeter than a Valentine’s ‘kiss’!

PEANUT BLOSSOMS 

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
chocolate stars or chocolate kisses

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl (except chocolate) and mix on low speed until well blended. Shape in round balls and roll in sugar.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Remove cookies and press in chocolate star or kiss in each cookie while cookies are still hot.

Yield: 4 dozen

New Favorite

Pear Cake…seasonal delight!

Pear Cake made with seasonal pears is a true treat.  This recipe, from http://www.usapear.com was a great find and delicious as a morning coffee treat or as a seasonal dessert.

PEAR CAKE

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 pears, peeled, cored and wedged
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a round baking pan with 2 tablespoons of butter.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Brush the pear wedges with lemon juice and arrange in the bottom of the baking pan.
  • Combine flour with baking powder, salt and cinnamon, Set aside.
  • Using a mixer, beat the remaining butter with sugar until fluffy.  Stir in eggs and vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture and milk alternating the ingredients slowly.  Continue to beat on low-speed after each addition.
  • Spoon batter evenly over pears in pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes OR until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  (My oven required a longer baking time.)
  • Cool before inverting onto serving platter.  Decorate with walnuts or serve with whipped cream as coffee cake or dessert.

Recipe adapted from http://www.usapears.com; Starkrimson Pear Cinnamon Cake