Monday, July 4, 2016

Filling that Christmas Box of Goodies for Your Fighting Lad

Many years ago, I happened upon one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. This may seem like an exaggeration, however, I am obviously really into baking, but I am also extremely into history!  Additionally, when I discovered this really cool item, I was baking for American soldiers every month (I did this for three years and my mom still does it to this days... it's been like 8 years!).

When looking through one of my mom's cookbooks, I found this paper...




It is from 1944 and was geared toward the families of all who were serving during WWII. I couldn't believe what I had found. I bonded with this paper. I know that that must sound silly, but I was doing the same thing for service men and women, as many did in 1944! I just found that really neat and I know that there are tons of you out there that are doing the same exact thing. So, I say well done!

Here is what the article states, before listing the recipes:

The cookies you bake for the serviceman's gift package should be the kind he's sure to like and the kind that keep and travel well.

Cookies that contain fruits and nuts are not practical unless they will arrive within three or four weeks.

If the cookies are on their way too long or if sent to hot or moist climates, the nuts are apt to become rancid and the fruit may cause the cookies to mold. Cookies that are very rich or tender are not recommended at all, because they will break and crumble in transit.

Honey and molasses cookies are among the good ones to keep in mind. They're always fine flavored and they keep well. You'll do well to include some of these especially if you need to economize on sugar.

Quite as important as selecting the right kind of cookies is their packing. Each cooky should be wrapped separately and the spaces between them should be filled with bits of crumpled up paper or small hard candies so they cannot move about in the package.



(My grandpa was 10 when this came out and now he is 82! I love them mentioning the rationing of sugar and how that was an important factor at the time. I do not often think of rationing anything in my life... if at all. History!! It is so great. Also, how fun that they spell cookie as cooky.)

Here are the recipes, in the same order as they are presented in the article:


















Surprisingly, I have yet to make any of these recipes... but I will make them all eventually! I hope that you try some out and that they are just as delicious as their history!













Review: All the Winters After

All the Winters After All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book through Goodreads giveaways. I tried and tried, and tried again and I finally won! Thank goodness, because, Wow! What a story!

Thank you for the opportunity to read this novel!

Have you ever been constantly reminded of something in your past, that you know you need to confront, in order to move on and fully live? But, you haven't the courage to do so. You think about confronting, but never actually meet it head on. And then one day you just go for it 100%... That is what characters in this novel are working through. Some share a tragedy and feel guilty for it, even though they could never be to blame. So, for 20 years they have distanced themselves from a life of love and closure.

A young woman is also fleeing her past. Her's is a different one than what most of us people today would think of. She's been so afraid, that for 10 years she has secluded herself, with no chance of interacting with any human soul.

An old woman is reflecting on life and the choices she has made. However, without her and without her choices, none of the characters in this novel would have been connected.

A wonderful story is weaved as these characters bump into each other and react and interact with each other. Bonds are formed. Deep bonds. Their lives begin to change for the better as they let others and light into their lives. Yet, with this new understanding and zeal for life comes sadness.

The story ended and I had a bit of a heavy heart. You know that slight aching, when things are sad, and you wish that things would have ended a different way?? I know that the young woman needs to explore and I know that the other characters still need to fully work their way into their new reality. It all seems good. It has to end this way.. but it also seems wrong. I want a few more pages... chapters to tell me how things turn out!

Ugh! Good read! Life certainly can be a delicate dance at times and this book highlights that beautifully.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake

We're plum lucky to get two plum recipes in a row! I mean... I really like plums! I was happy to find another recipe that utilizes their amazingness!

This cake comes together in two shakes. It is so simple. It looks beautiful as you pull it from the oven. The plums half hidden, half exposed in the cake. As I took the cake from the oven I was filled with joy. There is something to be said about mixing a few common ingredients and getting a different and glorious result every time. Baking is something that I can continually come back to and nothing has changed. I know it and it knows me. We are old friends and whenever we get back together, it is like no time has passed.

This cake to me, looks like a little art piece. I did not want to cut into it... but alas, I did.

(I think the baking process was really enhanced by the music of Agnes Obel playing in the background. You should check her out!)



Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake 6-8 servings

1-1/4       cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1             teaspoon baking powder

1/4          teaspoon salt

1/2          cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4          cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

2             large eggs

1             tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1             teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

5             large plums (about 1-1/4 pounds), pitted, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1/4          teaspoon ground cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, then lemon juice and lemon peel, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in flour mixture. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Press plum wedges halfway into batter in concentric circles, spacing slightly apart. Mix remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over plums.

Bake cake until browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cut around cake; release pan sides. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Plum-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

There is something about plums. I have been patiently waiting a year, for plum season to come, so that I could make this recipe. When I arrived at this recipe last year, I had just missed the plums. It was a darn shame, I tell you!

Perhaps the wait has made this cake even more desired. It is a little bit tart, a little bit spicy, and completely delicious.

This is quite a quick cake to whip together, which is great, now that you'll be making it again and again for all of your friends and family members who will undoubtedly love it!

Side note: If you live in Southern California, serving the cake warm or at room temperature is the same exact thing... it's that hot out right now/ in my apartment!


Plum-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake 8 servings


Topping

1/2          cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2          cup (packed) dark brown sugar

4             plums, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1             1/2-pint container blueberries


Cake

1-1/2       cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2             teaspoons baking powder

3/4          teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4          teaspoon salt

1/4          cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1             cup sugar

2             large eggs, room temperature

1             teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2          cup plus 1 tablespoon milk


               Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)




TOPPING: Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar; whisk until well blended. Pour syrup into 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides, spreading to cover bottom evenly. Lightly press plums into syrup in circle around edge of pan. Spread berries in center.


DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


CAKE: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into medium bowl. Beat butter in another medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar to butter and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Stir dry ingredients and milk alternately into butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Spoon batter over topping in pan.

Bake cake until top is golden and firm and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Run sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter over pan. Using oven mitts or pot holders as aid, firmly grasp pan and platter together, then turn over. Let stand 3 minutes, then gently lift pan off cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Raspberry Cake with Marsala, Creme Fraiche, and Raspberries

Well,  I could not think of a better way to kick on my summer break, than with this cake.  It is tart and just sweet enough to have me dreaming of sunny days reading books and going on little adventures and late morning wake up calls.

This cake is pretty simple to pull together and the sprinkling of sugar on the top, half way through the baking process gives it a pretty sparkle.

If you are looking for a quick way to impress at your next dinner or tea party, this cake will fit the bill.




Raspberry Cake with Marsala, Creme Fraiche, and Raspberries
10 servings


1-1/2          cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1                teaspoon baking powder

1                teaspoon salt

1/4             teaspoon baking soda

1/4             teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2             cup Marsala

1/4             cup fresh orange juice

14              tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

1                cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided

2                large eggs

1                teaspoon vanilla extract

1                teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

4                cups fresh raspberries, divided

2                cups creme fraiche or sour cream



Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400ºF. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2-3/4-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in medium bowl to blend. Combine Marsala and orange juice in small bowl. Beat 12 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and lemon peel. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with Marsala mixture in 2 additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups raspberries; reserve remaining for serving.

Bake cake until top is gently set, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375º (I forgot to do this and my cake still turned out well). Dot top of cake with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Continue baking until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Release pan sides; transfer cake to platter. Cool to room temperature.

Mix creme fraiche and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl.

DO AHEAD: Cake and creme fraiche mixture can be made 8 hours ahead. Let cake stand at room temperature. Cover and chill creme fraiche mixture.

Cut cake into wedges. Top each with dollop of creme fraiche and fresh respberries and serve.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Upside-Down Spiced Peach Cake With Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream


The name of this cake is quite a mouthful and that's exactly what you'll be wanting... mouthful after mouthful of this scrumptious cake!

Oh, You are definitely going to want honey-sweetened whipped cream on everything, including a plain old spoon! 







Upside-Down Spiced Peach cake with Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream 6 servings

6            tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

1/4         cup honey

1/4         cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1-1/4      cups bleached all purpose flour

1-1/2      teaspoons ground cardamom

1/2          teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4          teaspoon baking soda

1/4          teaspoon salt

3/4          cup sugar

1             large egg

1/2          cup plain whole-milk yogurt

3             small or 2 medium ripe peaches (about 1 pound total), pitted, thinly                sliced

Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream (See recipe below)


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in honey and brown sugar. Boil until mixture darkens slightly, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Immediately, pout honey mixture into prepared pan to coat bottom completely. Let stand while preparing batter.

Whisk flour, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg. Mix in half of flour mixture, then all of yogurt. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just blended.

Arrange sliced peaches decoratively over honey mixture (it will be firm), covering completely. Drop batter by spoonfuls evenly over peaches and gently spread batter over peaches to cover completely. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Run small knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter over pan. Using oven mitts or pot holders as aid, firmly grasp pan and platter together, then turn over. Gently lift off pan. Sere warm or at room temperature with Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream.


Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream

3/4          cup chilled heavy whipping cream

3             tablespoons honey

1/4          cup plain whole-milk yogurt


Using electric mixer, beat cream and honey in large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in yogurt.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hello!

Wow! It has been a while.  About a year ago, I started grad school. I knew that it was going to be time consuming, but I suppose I didn't realize that that would mean that I had no life altogether. Well, I have one more class this summer and then I write my thesis. So, this journey is coming to an end and I am really excited about that.

Suddenly, my time it going to belong to me and not to just work and papers. I will be able to read what I want, when I want to read it. I am going to be able to get back into running and of course... I am going be able to BAKE, BAKE, BAKE!

So, look forward to some more Bon Appetit recipes coming your way! It has been way too long since I have baked anything.

Here's to a slower pace and having the time to breathe!

See you soon.

Best,  Tiffiny

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Brown Sugar-Almond Cake with Caramel Frosting

Hello! I made this cake last weekend, for the Superbowl and it was well received. Please make sure that you have brown sugar! I ran to the store to pick up a few ingredients for this cake and when I got home, I realized that I did not pick up brown sugar. I then had to make my own, because I was not going to get back in my car and make another drive to the grocery.

If you would like to make your own brown sugar, simply mix 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses and mix until combined. It's that easy!

I also made my own buttermilk for this recipe, because in the markets here, you can only purchase one quart (946 ml) and that is always way too much and then the rest ends up going to waste.

If you would like to make your own buttermilk, you simply combine 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes. Measure out what you need, lumps and all!




Brown Sugar-Almond Cake with Caramel Frosting
12 servings

Cake

2            cups cake flour

3/4         teaspoon baking powder

3/4         teaspoon baking soda

1/4         teaspoon salt

1            15-ounce can pear halves in light syrup, well drained

3/4         cup blanched slivered almonds

3/4         cup buttermilk

3/4         cup sugar

1/2         cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/2         cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2            large eggs

1            teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4         teaspoon almond extract



Frosting

3/4         cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2         cup heavy whipping cream

1            tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2         cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1            cup powdered sugar, sifted

1            teaspoon vanilla extract


            Toasted sliced almonds

           Additional powdered sugar


CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Line pan with waxed paper; butter paper (I did not do this and everything turned out fine.... I just heavily greased my pan). Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.

Place pears and nuts in processor; blend to thick puree. Add buttermilk, both sugars, eggs, both extracts. Process until well blended (mixture may look curdled). Add to dry ingredients; stir to blend. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack; peel off paper. Cool cake completely.

FROSTING: Combine brown sugar, cream, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, swirling pan occasionally. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Chill until cold and beginning to thicken, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in cold brown sugar mixture, then vanilla.

Place cake on platter. Spread frosting over cake. Sprinkle nuts on top of cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover.

Sprinkle additional powdered sugar over cake.

**I do not have a food processor, so I ground up the almonds with a hand mixer and I diced up the pear with a pastry cutter and then mixed the two together. You do not need fancy gadgets to be a good baker. :) ** I also forgot to put the extra almonds and powdered sugar on top of the frosting. All was still well. **

P.S.- I am sorry for not formatting this post as usual, I am having major computer issues at the moment and it is amazing that I was even able to type this recipe at all, as my screen flashes on and off incessantly. It's all quite dramatic.

Happy Presidents' day to any Americans reading this and happy Monday to everyone else! Unless you are in Canada, then happy National Flag Day!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Pineapple Upside-Down Pumpkin Gingerbread

Well goodness me, it's 2016! In honor of the new year, I bequeath this recipe to you! May the new year be filled with more joy than sorrow. May it also be filled with cake, lots and lots of cake! I wish the best for you and yours!

Not my best photo!

Pineapple Upside-Down Pumpkin Gingerbread
10 servings


Topping

             Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2/3        cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/2        cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2           tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed

1           teaspoon mild-flavored (light) molasses

1           ripe pineapple, peeled


Cake

2           cups unbleached all purpose flour

2           teaspoons baking soda

2           teaspoons baking powder

1-1/4    teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4       teaspoon groung ginger

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/2       cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1          cup sugar

2          large eggs

1/2       cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

1/2       cup canned pure pumpkin

1/2       cup boiling water


            Whipped cream


TOPPING: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Combine sugar, butter, pineapple juice concentrate, and molasses in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves and syrup is smooth; boil 1 minute. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

Cut off 1/3-inch-thick round from pineapple; cut out core. Place round in syrup in pan. Stand pineapple on end. Cut lengthwise into 1-3-inch-thick slices. Using 3 round cutters of different sizes, cut out rounds from pineapple slices, avoiding core. Arrange rounds close together in single ayer in free-form design in syrup. (I did not have round cutters of various sizes, so I just did what I wanted.)


CAKE: Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in medium bowl. beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in molasses, then pumpkin. Beat in dry ingredients just until blended, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in 1/2 cup boiling water. Pour batter evenly into pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan 45 minutes. Place platter over pan. Using oven mitts or pot holders as aid, firmly grasp pan and platter together and turn over. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently lift pan off cake. Serve cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.