Category Archives: Dessert

Perfect Manhattan Pie #SundaySupper

Perfect Manhattan Pie

Welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Supper, where our theme is quite near and dear to my heart: Pies, Sweet and Savory!!! My regulars know how much I love baking pies, so this week is so much fun for me.

Of course, the question of which pie to make loomed before me, and I decided I wanted something a little off the beaten path. I ran across this intriguing recipe, and dessert was served, as they say!

Perfect Manhattan Pie

Matt received the coolest little book for Christmas, The Ultimate Bar Book. It was there that I learned the difference between traditional Manhattans (a cocktail I’ve been consuming for quite some time now) and perfect Manhattans. A perfect Manhattan is simply equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, as opposed to all sweet vermouth, and it’s garnished with a lemon strip instead of a maraschino cherry.

It seems that the world of Manhattan drinkers is a bit polarized – people seem to very strongly prefer either traditional or perfect, but personally I’ve found that both are quite pleasing to me. I love having discovered the perfect version, but it definitely didn’t sway me completely away from the traditional.

Perfect Manhattan Pie

This pie celebrates the perfect Manhattan though, and that’s just fine by me. It’s creamy, and silky, and boozy, and tastes exactly as advertised. We absolutely loved it! Highly recommend this to all you Manhattan lovers out there! Enjoy! And be sure you check out all the glorious pies brought to you by my Sunday Supper crew!

Perfect Manhattan Pie

Source: First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:
Pie crust for 1 regular 9” pie
1 tbs unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp salt
5 tbs rye whiskey or other bourbon
1 ½ tbs sweet vermouth
1 ½ tbs dry vermouth
5 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cup heavy cream
Candied lemon peel, for garnish (I made Martha Stewart’s version, or you could buy them)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Roll out the pie dough to a circle about 11 inches or so, then transfer it to a greased regular 9” pie plate. Fold the underhang under and crimp the edges decoratively. Make sure your crust is cold, then prick the bottom all over with the tines of a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Let sit 1 minute, then carefully remove the weights and parchment paper. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 F. Brush the edge of the crust with milk or egg wash. Return the unfilled pie to the oven and bake another 10 to 20 minutes, until the crust is fully baked and golden. Cool completely.
Make the filling: pour ½ cup cold water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and evenly dust it with the gelatin. Allow mixture to bloom, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in 1/3 cup sugar, the egg yolks and salt. Set over low heat until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the whiskey, both vermouths, and bitters into the mixture and refrigerate it, uncovered, until it begins to firm up and mound slightly when pushed with a spoon, about 30 minutes.
In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the custard mixture.
In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold it into the filling. Spread the filling in the crust and smooth the top. Garnish with the candied lemon rind. Refrigerate the pie for 4 hours or up to overnight to let it set up completely. Slice and serve. Keep it stored in the refrigerator.

Sweet As Pie

Mealtime Pie

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Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake

This cake got made for the most boring of reasons: I had most of a bag of sweetened shredded coconut left over from something else, and I didn’t want to throw it out. Fortunately, the cake itself is far, far more interesting. Before making this, I don’t think I’d ever had this classic.

Italian Cream Cake

At first I assumed that was natural, seeing as I’m not Italian. But then I learned that the origins of this cake are largely unknown, except that it seems to hail from America’s Deep South rather than Italy itself, and no one really knows how it got its name.

Italian Cream Cake

Then, it made much less sense that I’d never had it, given where I grew up and all, but the most important thing is that I’ve had it now. Better late than never! Suffice it to say, this is a wonderful cake that everyone should know how to make. The batter, studded with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, turns out a very delicious cake! It’s light and fluffy, flavorful, and lightly tangy with that cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Italian Cream Cake

Source: Cooking From the Hip by Cat Cora

Ingredients:

CAKE:
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:
First make the CAKE: place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 F. Cut a circle to fit each of two 9-inch round cake pans. Grease the pans, fir the parchment into the pans, then grease the parchment.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and 1 ½ cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add half the buttermilk, beating on medium speed and scraping the size of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Repeat, alternating the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk. Add the vanilla, coconut, and toasted walnuts and stir until just combined.
In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar, then beat until the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form. By hand, fold in one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter until incorporated. Fold in the next third of egg whites until incorporated, then the final third. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set the cakes on racks and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the cake pans.
Meanwhile, make the FROSTING: in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla at medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until blended. When all the sugar is incorporated, beat at high speed until smooth. Stir in ½ cup walnuts.
Place 1 cake round on a serving plate or cake stand. Place a mound of frosting on top, then use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the entire cake. Place the second cake round on top, then mound the remaining frosting on top of the cake. Use the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and down the sides. Press the remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts on the top of the cake. For best results, refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to firm up the frosting.

Toasted Pine Nut and Milk Chocolate Short Bread Squares

Toasted Pine Nut and Milk Chocolate Short Bread Squares

How much do I love short bread? Let me count the ways…

Actually no, don’t worry, I’ll spare you that tedium, but suffice it to say these did not disappoint this short bread lover at all! Matt and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s taking off work and bumming around Manhattan, where we did some personal shopping for no real reason other than we just felt like it. I know I’m really late to the party, but I finally picked up Ovenly, the book that spills the secrets of the successful Brooklyn bakery by the same name.

Toasted Pine Nut and Milk Chocolate Short Bread Squares

What to make first? Their short bread recipe caught my eye, in no small part because I had some pine nuts to use up, and who wants to throw pine nuts into the garbage, ever? Expensive little nuts, those are.

Toasted Pine Nut and Milk Chocolate Short Bread Squares

My regulars know I’m not a big milk chocolate fan, so I seriously debated subbing in semi-sweet here, but in the end decided to try their version. I’m very glad I did! The milk chocolate really plays off the almost-bitter quality of the pine nuts and it’s a very well-complemented relationship. Also, the short bread itself is barely sweet (just sweet enough) so you welcome the near-cloying sweetness of the milk chocolate. Nothing was even a little bit out of balance. I can assure you, these will get made again. Enjoy!

Toasted Pine Nut and Milk Chocolate Short Bread Squares

Source: Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbs toasted pine nuts
2 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1 ¼ cups cold, unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 275 F. Grease an 8×8” baking pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, pine nuts, and milk chocolate.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cold butter and sugar on medium speed until light and barely fluffy, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overbeat the butter. Turn the mixer off. Add the flour mixture and turn the mixer back on low speed, mixing until just incorporated.
Remove the dough from the bowl and press it evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. Use a spatula to remove them from the pan.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Over the past eighteen months or so, I’ve purposefully dropped a bit of excess weight, and I’ve done so not by following a standard program that gets advertised on television, but by making some simple lifestyle changes and adjustments. And I’d say the two biggest changes I made were in my exercise habits (as in, now I actually have exercise habits), and my dessert eating habits. I adore baking and making carb-laden and sweet treats, but I’ve learned to focus on the satisfaction and catharsis that comes from making them and less on eating them. Now, I’m more of a dessert taster than a dessert eater.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

Until I made this bread pudding… Holy crap, this bread pudding. This is the dessert that made me unabashedly throw out my newfound healthy attitude towards dessert. I feel I exhibited serious restraint, the kind that deserves shiny medals, to not eat the entire pan in one sitting. I wish I was kidding. I only had one serving a day for two days in a row, which is more dessert than I typically eat, but that was simply the best I could do in the willpower department.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

This is phenomenal, superfluous, amazing dessert right here. This particular sauce is special, boozy, and pairs so beautifully with the coconut in the bread pudding. A Sazerac is a classic New Orleans cocktail made from rye whiskey, Absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters. The cocktail itself is outstanding, one of my favorites, and I’m very happy but not totally surprised that it translates beautifully to a syrupy sauce for bread pudding.

Coconut Bread Pudding with Sazerac Sauce

I can’t say enough good things here. You must go out and make it, right now!! Enjoy!

Sources: Bread Pudding adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016; Sazerac Sauce from Louisiana Cookin’

Ingredients:

BREAD PUDDING:
1 loaf stale challah bread, cut into cubes
1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
½ cup granulated sugar
2 (13.4 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk, shaken
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt

SAZERAC SAUCE:
1 cup water
½ cup rye whiskey
3 tbs absinthe
2 drops Peychaud’s bitters
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp fresh peeled orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the BREAD PUDDING: grease a 9×13” baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the bread cubes and shredded coconut until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Wipe out the bowl, then add the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to thoroughly combine, then evenly pour this mixture over the bread. Use your hands to press down on the bread to submerge it. Line it with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 F and set a rack in the center of the oven. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread pudding and place the baking dish in a larger baking dish or large roasting pan. Put the baking dish on the oven rack, then carefully pour enough hot water into the larger baking dish to come up about halfway up the sides of the baking dish with the bread pudding.
Bake until the center of the bread pudding springs back when gently pressed with a finger and knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then carefully lift the baking dish out of the water bath. Transfer it to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with the Sazerac Sauce liberally drizzled over.
While the bread pudding is baking, make the SAZERAC SAUCE: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, whiskey, absinthe, and bitters. Add sugar, whisking to combine. Add zest, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to cook until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the vanilla, then cool completely before using. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

So apparently it was National Chocolate Cake Day this past week?? Is that right? I cannot and don’t even try to keep up with all these arbitrary food holidays. And, I personally don’t think chocolate cake needs any reason whatsoever, actually…

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I picked up one of America’s Test Kitchen compilation magazines last summer and was delighted to find this gem in there. I’d actually been hunting down such a recipe for purely nostalgic reasons. One of the BEST things my mom made while we were kids was this amazing chocolate bundt cake. It had sour cream in it, plus chocolate chips, and it was always made from a boxed cake mix and a boxed pudding mix. I’ve always wanted to make it from scratch, but could never find a recipe that exactly matched its intense chocolate flavor and fudgy texture.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Until now, that is! I mean, I should’ve looked to ATK first. Lesson learned…

This was everything I fondly remember about that childhood cake, made from scratch. I grinned stupidly with every bite. This will forever be my go-to chocolate bundt cake. I’m officially done looking. And whether chocolate bundt cake is nostalgic to you or not, I highly, highly recommend that you start baking this one and make it a nostalgic part of your life. It’s SO good.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition Best Ingredients Recipes, 2015

Ingredients:
1 tbs plus ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
12 tbs unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant espresso powder
¾ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
5 large eggs
12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Mix 1 tbs cocoa powder and the melted butter into paste. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the interior of a standard Bundt pan. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat your oven to 350 F.
Combine the chocolate, espresso powder, and remaining ¾ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth. Let cool completely, then whisk in the sour cream. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating the chocolate-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in the chocolate chips, and give the batter a final quick stir by hand to incorporate the chips.
Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan once halfway through baking. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 3 hours.

PB&J Pie

PB&J Pie

Sometimes outstanding things come out of your kitchen as a result of poor planning and pure practicality. Such was this amazing pie. It was just after Christmas, our company was gone and the tree was taken down. I took stock of the pantry and fridge, and realized that, as usual, I’d bought too much for hosting.

PB&J Pie

I had tons of excess saltine crackers from a dip we’d enjoyed; plus, I had bought peanut butter anticipating someone possibly wanting a sandwich, only to realize that we already had peanut butter. I also had 6 ounces of cream cheese left over from making this pimento cheese spread, and had no clue what on earth to do with that. Then, on Christmas morning, I received some homemade blueberry jam from my mother-in-law, which I was excited to taste.

PB&J Pie

Thus, this pie came to be, a result of combining all those excess ingredients, plus letting me use that jam. There’s a good amount of saltines in the crust, peanut butter plus exactly 6 ounces of cream cheese in the filling (exciting!!), and jelly or jam on top. Beautiful! And delicious! Enjoy.

PB&J Pie

Source: First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:

CRUST:
30-35 Saltine crackers
6-8 tbs unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:
¾ cup heavy cream
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
Pinch of salt, if your peanut butter is unsalted
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

TOPPING:
1 cup jam or jelly, any flavor you like (I had blueberry)
½ cup salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:
To make the CRUST: Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grind the crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine. The texture should resemble wet sand.
Firmly press the cracker mixture into the bottom of a greased 9” pie plate. Chill the crust in the freezer or fridge for 10 minutes. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then let cool completely.
Make the FILLING: whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer with clean beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar, starting on low speed and increasing the speed until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the whipped cream to the mixture and mix again until just combined.
Put the cooled pie crust on a baking sheet. Spread the peanut butter filling into the crust. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow it to set up.
Make the TOPPING: heat the jam in a small saucepan over high heat until it just starts to boil. Let it cool slightly, then pour it over the peanut butter filling. Return it to the fridge to set up and chill. Before serving, garnish the top evenly with the peanuts. Serve cold for best results.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

One of my favorite pies on this planet is Key Lime Pie, but over the weekend, I was harshly reminded of why I rarely ever make one. I once again completely see why so many published recipes for this pie advocate for using regular limes with a vehement lack of apology. Key limes are a real pain in the butt.

Key Lime Pie

This recipe needs ¾ cup of key lime juice, and at first I decided I would be Rambo or something and just juice all those limes with a handheld reamer. One of those teeny limes slipped out of my fingers as I was squeezing it, flew across the kitchen and knocked over the measuring up of almost ¼ cup of already-juiced lime juice. I was not impressed.

Key limes

So I busted out the stand mixer juicer attachment, and things went much more smoothly from that point. I eventually got my juice and baked the pie. One bite in, and I was reminded of why I went to all this hassle. So. Incredibly. Worth it.

Key Lime Pie

Sweet and tart, with a perfect custard texture and the slight crunch of the graham cracker crust, this pie is just perfect in my book. This particular recipe is a classic version, but expertly done. It turned out, well, perfect. Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie

Source: slightly adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:
1 ½ – 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
6-8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup Key lime juice
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 3 Key limes
¼ tsp salt
Whipped cream, for topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Grease a 9” pie plate, then pat the graham cracker crumb mixture into the pie plate and up the sides. Chill the crust for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, lime juice, yolks, lime zest, and salt until fully blended.
Place the pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust and bake 30-40 minutes, until the filling has just set and the custard is smooth and not browned. Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before refrigerating. Serve sliced topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Classic Gingerbread

Classic Gingerbread

Yesterday I shared a once-a-year show-stopper of a holiday cake, and no lie – it takes some time and effort. Also, it kind of makes a mess. All worth it for an appropriate occasion, yes, but a mess nonetheless. Today’s cake is the complete opposite. This cake gets made in no time, uses a minimal amount of utensils and dishes, doesn’t need any frosting, and yet may be one of my favorite cakes I’ve eaten in a long time.

Classic Gingerbread

This is real gingerbread, yo. Old-school, classic, old-fashioned, straight-up gingerbread that offers no apologies for being what it is. Gingerbread is a very assertive cake with strong, in-your-face flavors and not a ton of sweetness. A lot of times, it gets watered down and all but changed in favor of a sweeter, lightly spiced cake calling itself gingerbread.

Classic Gingerbread

Not this version here. The spices are rightly heavy-handed, the molasses flavor is thick and musky as it should be, and the sweetness merely waves from the back row. I found it completely delicious and utterly satisfying. Perfect for a last-minute Christmas dessert. Enjoy!

Classic Gingerbread

Source: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup warm water
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cake
Orange zest, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth and well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just combined. Stir in the warm water until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Be sure not to overcook it, as it will harden a bit as it cools.
While the cake is still warm, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top, as much or as little as you desire, then sprinkle evenly with the orange zest. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pecan Pie Cake

Pecan Pie Cake

While I’m all about pies for Thanksgiving, the Christmas season always screams “CAKE!!!” to me. Not sure why, probably some unexplored childhood thing lying deep in my subconscious; whatever it is, it bothers no one, myself included, so I’ll likely keep baking cakes every December.

Much of the time the month of December is harried and I want simple cakes that can be thrown together quickly and still taste amazing (such a cake coming to you tomorrow!). But the holiday season does deserve at least one real show-stopper of a cake, doesn’t it? Obviously I think so.

Pecan Pie Cake

Here we have pecan pie being transformed into a very tall, generously frosted layer cake here. Let me warn/tell you, this baby is RICH! Like, I only ate three bites at a time, rich. Like, make sure there are at least twenty teeth brushings between your last bite of this cake and your next dentist’s appointment. This is most definitely a once-a-year-only cake, but for that one time a year, it is so worth it.

Pecan Pie Cake

It tastes just as advertised – all the flavors and textures of pecan pie, but it’s clearly cake! Extremely delicious and festive, and totally worth the effort. Your family and guests will think so anyways. Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Cake

Source: Taste of the South Special Collector’s Issue: Southern Christmas, December 2015

Ingredients:

CAKE:
1 ½ cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
Coarsely chopped pecans for garnish

PECAN PIE FILLING:
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup (you can substitute 1/3 cup light corn syrup and 1/3 cup sorghum syrup)
5 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
½ tsp salt
2 cups unsalted butter, softened and divided
7 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 3 tbs whole milk, as needed

Directions:
First make the CAKE: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then spray the parchment with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped pecans in each prepared pan.
In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Divided batter evenly among the prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops.
Bake until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans completely.
Meanwhile, make the PECAN PIE FILLING: in a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs, pecans, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before using.
Now make the BROWN SUGAR FROSTING: in a small saucepan, bring brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in ½ cup butter until it melts. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat cooled brown sugar mixture and remaining 1 ½ cups softened butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until combined. If needed, add milk, 1 tbs at a time, until the frosting is spreadable consistency. I didn’t need any milk.
Assemble the cake: place one cake on a cake plate and spread half the Pecan Pie Filling on top. Top with a second layer of cake, then spread the remaining half of the Pecan Pie Filling on top. Place the third cake on top, and then frost the entire top and sides of the cake with the Brown Sugar Frosting. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with the chopped pecans for garnish, if desired.

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

It would appear that the holiday baking season is wholly upon us, and I personally couldn’t be happier seeing as I love to bake and this is a terrific excuse. That being said, I know the holiday season can be stressful and harried, and sometimes we’re supposed to bake a treat to bring somewhere or serve to guests and we just don’t have time to do anything elaborate.

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

That’s where this recipe comes into your life and saves it. First of all, you start with cold butter. Yes, really – cold butter!! What cookie recipe lets you do that? Secondly, you don’t have to take the time to scoop each individual cookie onto a baking sheet; you just press the entire ball of dough into a greased tart pan and bake it off.

almond short bread wedges with lemon icing

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

And now you might be thinking that cookies this easy surely must taste awful, but occasionally too good can be true. These are completely amazing. Perfectly buttery, soft texture, and a light crunch of almond to contrast, and then the tart bite of the lemon glaze all come together in a perfect bite. These are wonderful little cookies to throw together when you’re backed up against the wall this holiday season. Enjoy!

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

Source: Down South by Donald Link

Ingredients:

COOKIES:
16 tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for garnish
1 cup cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds

LEMON ICING:
1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the COOKIES: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on low speed until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar, increase the speed to medium, and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flours in 3 batches, turning the mixer off before each addition and mixing on low until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, gather into a ball, and flatten into a disc. Using your hands, press the dough into the prepared tart pan. Sprinkle the top of the dough with extra sugar and the sliced almonds.
Bake 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 300 F and bake until light golden, an additional 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Press up on the bottom of the tart pan to release the sides of the pan. Using a long knife, slice the shortbread into 12 wedges while still warm. Allow the wedges to cool completely.
While it’s cooling, make the LEMON ICING: in a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until very smooth.
Once the cookie wedges are completely cool, use a fork to drizzle the lemon icing over them. Either serve right away or let set before transferring to an airtight container for storage.