Category Archives: Dessert

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

I have a bone to pick with America’s end-of-year food-centric holidays. Why is it that all the flavors of Thanksgiving are still acceptable to serve at Christmas, except pumpkin? I mean, sweet potatoes, cranberries, Brussels sprouts, green beans, sage, turkey, pecans, apples – they’re all carried over past the fourth Thursday in November, but pumpkin is abruptly dropped and seemingly considered verboten even one day past Turkey Day. Why? I mean seriously, who made that rule?

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

I’m not accepting this. Pumpkin isn’t that different from the rest, and too many people love it to just wantonly disregard it with such a thud. It should be in our collective repertoire until at least December 25th.

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

If you agree, then you just have to make this superb pumpkin dessert for your Christmas feast. It’s more work than a typical pumpkin pie, but it’s also much more special, and more than delicious enough to be worth it. One small change I made to Fine Cooking’s recipe: they call for candying raw unsalted pepitas. I didn’t do that for two reasons. One, because it’s yet *another* step in an already involved and time-consuming recipe; and two, because online reviewers said it made the tart too sweet. I was extremely happy with my results. Enjoy!

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

Source: slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbs fine cornmeal
1 tbs granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
8 tbs cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vodka

CARAMEL:
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup bourbon

FILLING:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup plus 2 tbs canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup half-and-half

A few handfuls of salted, roasted pepitas, for garnish

Directions:
First make the CRUST: pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal or wet sand. Combine the egg, egg yolk, vodka and 1 tbs ice water in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, adding more water 1 tsp at a time as needed, up to 2 tbs. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help gather the dough into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a greased 9-inch springform pan, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan without stretching it. Tear any high areas of the dough so that the height is about ½ an inch below the rim of the pan; the edge will look ragged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork at 1-inch intervals, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it to the top with dried beans, gently pressing them against the sides. Bake until the edges are firm, 15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake, rotating the pan once and popping any bubbles with a toothpick, just until the bottom is firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Now make the CARAMEL: in a 2-quart saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter and salt over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts and begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream (some sugar may seize) and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick, 7-9 minutes. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup. Pour 1/3 cup caramel over the bottom of the cooled crust and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to set the caramel. Leave the remaining caramel at room temperature.
Make the FILLING: in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and then the egg yolk, beating until combined. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix thoroughly until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the half-and-half. Mix until just combined.
Slowly pour the filling into the crust. Bake until filling has puffed slightly and its surface no longer appears wet, 35 to 40 minutes. It’s okay if cracks form, they’ll be covered later. Cool the tart on a rack until the filling is completely cooled and warm, about 1 hour.
If the remaining caramel sauce is no longer pourable, warm it in the microwave until pourable. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the custard and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the pepitas around the edges of the top caramel and press lightly. Cover the tart with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the tart and remove the side of the pan. Transfer to a serving plate and serve chilled.

Bar Americain’s Sweet Potato Pie

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

Alright, I know everyone who’s hosting has likely finalized their Thanksgiving plans already, and is very likely already in the throes of prepping their feast; so I won’t share this superb pie in the spirit of giving you an idea for your Thanksgiving this year, but more in the spirit of giving you a break from all the cooking/cleaning prep work to look at (somewhat) pretty pictures of a delicious sweet potato pie you can almost taste. And hey, if anyone bookmarks this to put it on their menus for Thanksgiving 2017, then I’m very flattered! I’m sure Bobby Flay is too.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

I have been fortunate enough to dine at his Bar Americain restaurant several times, but never have I ordered this particular pie, or the ice cream he serves with it at his restaurant. I have the cookbook; you should have the cookbook too.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

As making ice cream is a little more work than this time of year allows, I topped the pie with a sour cream-whipped cream concoction I learned from the great Ina Garten, then topped that with toffee chips. Let’s just say, no one complained about any lack of ice cream.

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

The pie is outstanding! A traditional sweet potato pie filling ensconced in a cinnamon graham cracker crust, topped with billowy whipped cream and the light tang of the sour cream, plus toffee. Because what can’t be improved with a little toffee? Enjoy!

Bar Americain's Sweet Potato Pie

Source: lightly adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

FILLING:
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbs molasses
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups evaporated milk
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled

CRUST:
2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

TOPPING:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs sour cream
Confectioners’ sugar, to taste
Toffee chips, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, halve each potato lengthwise and scrape out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. While the potatoes are still hot, mash with a potato masher or fork until mostly smooth.
To make the crust, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix until combined. Grease a 9” deep-dish pie plate, then evenly press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until light golden brown and firm, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Keep oven on.
To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugars, molasses, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and milk. Gradually add the egg mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes, whisking gently until combined. The filling mixture will be a bit lumpy at this point; hit it with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and pour the sweet potato mixture into the shell. Bake until the filling is set around the edges and the center is jiggly but not liquidy when jostled lightly, about 45-55 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 12 hours.
Now make the topping: in a clean mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sour cream and confectioners’ sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread on the chilled or room temperature pie, then top as you wish with the toffee chips. Slice and serve.

Polvorones

Polvorones

I figure, it’s been a month (gulp!) so maybe I should stop neglecting my blog, huh? The past four weeks have gone like this: my birthday; work stress; rushing the cat to the vet after he puked blood, upon which we discovered three coins in his stomach (!!!!) – they’re gone now and no, that was not cheap; a week in Chicago for a good friend’s wedding; recovering from said trip to Chicago seeing as I haven’t had a week that debaucherous and sleep-deprived since college – so worth it but oh it hurt; catching up on work; election stresses; more work; and here we are!

Polvorones

A few weeks ago I promised to memorialize Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Polvorones on this site, and today I shall deliver. For anyone not familiar, polvorones are amazing, shortbread-y little nutty cookies, a staple in Spanish and Latin American cooking, made by grinding and/or chopping lots of walnuts into a thick shortbread-type cookie dough and baked off.

But that’s not the best part – that happens after they come out of the oven and get rolled in powdered sugar. What happens when you roll warm cookies in powdered sugar is that the sugar sort of “sets” on the cookie and makes this almost-shell of sweetness around the entire cookie, but also becomes part of the cookie itself. Obviously, it makes them completely irresistible. So, get them out of the house before you eat the entire platter!

Polvorones

You can almost watch this process happening – as the sugar sets it’s like it becomes a part of the cookie – very cool :). Totally delicious and classic. Try them if you’ve never done so. Enjoy!

Source: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup ground walnuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the flour, then the ground and chopped walnuts. Divide the dough in half, forming each in to a ball. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Put the powdered sugar in a separate bowl and set aside. Grease a baking sheet or line with a silpat.
Working with half the chilled dough at a time and keeping the rest in the fridge, roll 2-teaspoon-size chunks of the dough between your palms to form balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, spacing them ½-inch apart.
Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then toss the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. Transfer the sugar-coated cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

It’s not a secret: I LOVE banana pudding and frankly, anything else that even halfway resembles it. It’s been this way since childhood. So when I receive a cooking magazine in the mail and one of its featured recipes is a banana pudding poke cake, it was imperative that I drop everything and bake it, immediately.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Oh. Wow. This is everything you think it’s going to be. A lovely cake moistened by vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, all underneath a light whipped cream frosting. And of course, those ‘Nilla wafers crumbled on top. It speaks for itself, really.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

A perfect Indian summer treat! Enjoy!

Source: Taste of the South Magazine, May/June 2016

Ingredients:

CAKE:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
½ cup mashed banana
½ tsp vanilla extract

PUDDING:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 ½ cups whole milk, divided
8 large egg yolks
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

TOPPING:
3 medium slightly underripe bananas, sliced
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2-4 tbs confectioners’ sugar
Whole and crushed vanilla wafers, for garnish

Directions:
First, make the CAKE: preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with baking spray.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Add mashed banana and vanilla, beating just until combined. Pour into prepared baking dish, smoothing the top.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then use a wooden spoon to poke holes in the warm cake.
While the cake is baking, make the PUDDING: in a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in ½ cup milk and the egg yolks. In a large saucepan, place remaining 3 cups milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into egg mixture, pouring slowly and whisking constantly. Now whisk the egg mixture into remaining hot milk in the saucepan, again pouring slowly and whisking constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it is boiling, cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts and is completely combined. Let cool 10 minutes (if it cools more than this, it’s fine).
Once the cake is out of the oven, rested, and poked, pour the pudding over the cake. Cover and refrigerate until chilled about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and whip more until stronger peaks form.
Uncover the cake, top all over with the sliced banana, then spread the whipped cream smoothly all over the banana. Sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers and wedge whole wafers around the border of the cake, if desired.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

For whatever reason, I got on something of a blueberry kick earlier this summer, and became determined to find a perfect, foolproof blueberry snacking cake to stow away in my arsenal of simple baking tricks. I’m usually decent at picking good recipes just by reading them, but my skills were lacking this time, alas.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This was the third blueberry cake I made and the only one I feel even remotely comfortable sharing here. The first, I had such high anticipation as it had a crumble topping with peanuts, something I’d never seen before. The peanuts, and peanut butter glaze especially, overpowered everything and that was all you tasted.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Next I tried a simple whole wheat blueberry cake with a glaze made from pureed blueberries, and the whole thing was very meh. It didn’t go uneaten or anything, but I wouldn’t bother making it again, which says a lot.

By the time I got around to baking this cake here, my expectations were pretty low; one bite in, however, and I knew the only mistake about this cake was the fact that I hadn’t photographed it. So, I had to make it again. Oh darn!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This is everything you want in a simple snacking cake perfect for summer. There is no leavening agent and that is NOT a typo. I don’t get it either, but it worked beautifully and earned rave reviews. Get on it while blueberries are still in season!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
Raw sugar, like turbinado, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Decrease your mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, then the last half of the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
Bake the cake 80 to 90 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely, then cut out squares and eat!

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie

Well, my friends, I have had one goat rodeo of a week. Between a sick kitty, computer hackers, a car that won’t cooperate with the inspection people, and red tape tying up our lease renewal, suffice it to say I didn’t submit my recipe for this week’s Sunday Supper in time for the deadline. Which is really sad, as I’d been so looking forward to this week’s theme! Mom’s Favorite Recipes, in a nod to upcoming Mother’s Day, of course.

Coconut Custard Pie

So, I pestered my mom several times for her favorite home cooked meals, she patiently gave me several good options, and I decided upon this coconut custard pie! I actually remember her making one from time to time when I was growing up, and seeing how I hated coconut then, I rarely partook.

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie

Now I’m grown up, and it was TOUGH keeping my paws off this pie. I have long since recovered from my aversion to coconut, and thus found this pie to be insanely delicious. It was so creamy, studded with lots of chewy coconut and a flaky crust…

Coconut Custard Pie

Seeing as we live a couple thousand miles apart, I wasn’t able to share it with my mom (BOO!), but I’m quite confident she would have loved it. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Coconut Custard Pie

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
1 (9-inch) single crust unbaked pie crust, fitted into a regular 9-inch pie plate and chilled until ready to use
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coconut extract
1 (7 oz.) package sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with the tines of a fork. Line the pie with parchment paper and weight it down with pie weights or dried beans. Blind-bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper, brush with the beaten egg yolk, and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
While the crust is baking, make the custard. Scald the milk and cream with the salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Slowly pour about a quarter of the hot milk mixture over the eggs, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot with the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly until completely combined. Add the extracts and stir to combine.
Scatter the shredded coconut over the baked pie crust. Pour the custard over the coconut until it’s very full but not overflowing. You may not need every last bit of the custard. That’s okay.
With your oven still at 425 F, bake the pie for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven, but do not open the door, and bake the pie another 5 minutes. At this point, check for doneness. What you want to see is the pie filling be jiggly but not liquidy when you gently shake the pie plate. If it’s not done (mine wasn’t!) close the oven door and let it go another 5 to 10 minutes (mine needed the full 10 minutes). Check for doneness again, it should be there. If not, let it go another 5 minutes, or until it is done.
Cool the pie several hours before serving. I think it tastes best chilled, but you can also serve it at room temperature just fine.

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Where did the phrase “as American as apple pie” come from? When you think about it, it makes zero sense, because Americans can hardly lay claim to a dessert of softened apples encased in a buttery pastry. The Germans have apfelstrudel, the French have tarte tatin, and that’s just the beginning. Apple pie is, quite frankly, not American!

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German chocolate cake, on the other hand – surprisingly, that is 100% American. No lie, this wonderful dessert was created in central Texas long ago, and the German in its title refers to the type of chocolate originally used, not the country of origin. But, I guess the phrase “as American as German chocolate cake” just didn’t quite have the same ring to it…

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Anyways, I adore German chocolate cake, but it’s usually a real production to pull off. Every time I’ve had it, and all the recipes I saw for it were very tall layer cakes that would’ve taken hours and made a huge mess to complete. I have really been craving this cake lately, but wanted a more simplified version of it, yet refused to dumb it down or compromise any of its winning characteristics.

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

The idea of a sheet cake occurred to me, admittedly with some amount of skepticism. It seemed kind of wrong, and I wondered if the flavor would really translate. But, you never know till you try, so try I did, and I’m thrilled to report that this was extremely successful! It tasted exactly as it should, but was incredibly easy to pull off. Matt took the leftovers to work, as usual, and people there immediately recognized it as German chocolate cake and effusively proclaimed its deliciousness. I have to say, they are correct. I absolutely LOVED this cake and would happily eat my beloved German chocolate cake as sheet cake from now on. Enjoy!

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:

CAKE:
12 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk

FROSTING:
1 cup heavy cream
20 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped; or 2 cups store-bought caramel sauce
2 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans
7 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of salt

Directions:
First, bake the CAKE: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy and light, at least 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly blend one-third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, followed by a third of the flour, the remaining half of the milk, then the last of the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary during this process.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely before frosting it.
Make the FROSTING:
Heat the cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it simmers; add the caramel(s) and stir until melted. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove it from the heat. Stir in the pecans and coconut, plus a small pinch of salt. The cake should be completely cooled before frosting, and the frosting should be cooled to about room temperature. It should be thick but spreadable.
To assemble, carefully pour the cooled frosting onto the top of the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it across the cake. Let it set for at least a few minutes before cutting. Cut into squares and serve.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Call me utterly predictable and completely unoriginal, but it’s Pi Day, an arbitrary holiday/designation that is supposed to celebrate math but has been hijacked by food media, so I’m sharing a pie with you. I know.

But, whether it’s Pi Day or any random day, this particular pie absolutely deserves a space on my blog, and in your belly. Such a simple, unpretentious, beloved classic comfort food pie this is; I’m pretty sure every American has a favorite and familiar version in their arsenal.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

This one is particularly awesome because the crust is made from store-bought Oreos, but the filling is made from scratch. I love that unholy juxtaposition.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

I won’t blather on about how delicious this pie is, because everyone already knows the chocolate-y, creamy goodness that is this lovely concoction of chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. I’ll just advocate for this particular version, it is simply wonderful. Enjoy!

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Source: The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook by John Stage

Ingredients:

CRUST:
20 Oreo sandwich cookies
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1/3 cup flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tbs vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Directions:
Make the CRUST: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a regular 9” pie plate. Process the cookies down to crumbs in your food processor. Add the melted butter and process again to combine. Press the cookies evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the FILLING: whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the chocolate chips and milk in a saucepan and set it over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the chips are melted, shut off the heat and pour half of the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla together. Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly to make sure the yolks don’t scramble. Now add the chocolate and dry ingredient mixture. Stir to combine, then set the saucepan back over medium heat and whisk constantly. Once the mixture starts to thicken, keep whisking and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour the chocolate filling into a clean bowl and cool for 10 minutes. You can place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pudding to prevent a skin forming.
Pour the filling into the pie shell and level the top. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Spread the whipped cream all over the top and cut into wedges. Keep in the refrigerator.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

I’ve long since been of the firm opinion that the internet doesn’t need yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. We all love chocolate chip cookies, everyone has a go-to recipe in their arsenal (I’m quite convinced that this includes everyone, even people who claim they can’t cook and/or bake), so really, what good is it to post such a ubiquitous recipe?

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

Until today, when I break my own rule. Maybe I’m sheltered, but I’ve never before seen chocolate chip cookies that incorporated fresh tarragon in the dough. And bourbon too! Bourbon never hurts my feelings.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

These particular chocolate chip cookies won my heart, and I actually did find them unique and special – enough so to share here with my head held high anyways. They have all the elements we require of perfect, chewy-style chocolate chip cookies, but there’s a hint of booze in the background, and a pop of … something … from the tarragon. It certainly doesn’t taste as though you’re chewing on tarragon, but it definitely adds an earthy dimension to such a familiar favorite.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

I highly recommend that everyone take a short break from their go-to chocolate chip cookies recipe and give these a go. They are superlative, and while I’m sure they’ll sway no one from their long-time fave, your usual recipe will certainly forgive you for stepping out on it this one time. It’s very worth it. Enjoy!

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon

Source: Ovenly by Agatha Kaluga and Erin Patinkin

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup bourbon (nothing fancy necessary)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tbs finely chopped fresh tarragon

Directions:
First, brown the butter. In a small, preferably stainless steel, saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to heat until it crackles and foams. Once the butter is nutty in color and smell, and you can see little browned bits on the bottom of the pan, shut off the heat and stir to scrape the browned bits off the pan. Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cooled melted butter and both sugars on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
Add the whole egg and then the egg yolk, one at a time, and beat on low until fully incorporated. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat 1 minute until smooth.
Turn the mixer to low, add the bourbon and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until barely combined, about 30 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and tarragon, and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds more.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a cookie scoop to form the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them on the baking sheets.
Bake 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. It’s good if the cookies look slightly underbaked in the center when you take them out – they will set as they cool. Cool fully before serving.
The recipe says this will get you 24 cookies, but I got 30 cookies, plus a leftover handful of dough, which yes, I ate.

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m an aunt again (!!!) – a good two weeks earlier than expected. My sister surprised us all with the early arrival of a beautiful baby boy, my newest nephew Preston!! He spent a little time in the NICU but is doing quite well now. He joins big sisters Hannah and Claire, plus big brother Jack, who does not have a birth entry here because I did not have this blog when Jack was born. Oh the problems of being the first born. If it’s any consolation, I have way more baby pictures of you, Jack. 😉

Banana Cream Pie

I’ve had this incredible banana cream pie in the to-blog queue for a few weeks now, and seeing as this is one of my absolute favorite pies on planet Earth, I have been looking for the right occasion to share it. If getting a new nephew isn’t such an occasion, then what possibly could be?

Banana Cream Pie

This is a classic, from-scratch version that is one of the best I’ve tasted, ever (and trust me, I’ve done the leg work there – all the members of my family are big fans of this pie and its pudding cousin). It’s perfect, and creamy, and everything you want banana cream pie to be (and then some!). Even though it wasn’t necessarily planned this way, I really can’t think of a better dessert to share in honor of baby Preston’s arrival.

Banana Cream Pie

I can’t wait to meet him and watch him grow up!! And seeing as he’s one of us, I’m sure that in a few short years he too will be a big fiend for anything containing banana pudding. Enjoy!

Banana Cream Pie

Source: slightly adapted from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:

CRUST:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp granulated sugar
½ cup melted unsalted butter

FILLING:
2 medium bananas, cut into ½ inch slices
¾ cup granulated sugar
5 tbs cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 tbs powdered sugar

Directions:
For the CRUST: preheat your oven to 350 F. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Grease a regular 9” pie plate and press the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
For the FILLING, arrange the bananas in the crust. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Stir together until there are no lumps. Mix together the milk and egg yolks and stir into the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Whisk until smooth. Move the pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the custard comes to a boil, taking care to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and vanilla. Pour the custard over the bananas. Cool 20 minutes at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar to taste and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cooled custard and refrigerate to let it set up, preferably overnight but at least several hours. Overnight yields the best results.