AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY

I found this recipe in an old (1960’s) cookbook put together for a lake area homeowner’s association. I have no idea what makes it “AUSTRALIAN” and Ruth Traum is unknown to me so I can’t even ask her. I tried to do research and found several recipes called “Australian), but none of them said WHY they were “AUSTRALIAN”. Best I can tell it’s just a version of a no-bake cheesecake, but it’s SUPER airy and light.

Ruth’s recipe used lemon jello, but it is a simple thing to change up the flavor to your liking. I mixed a box of cherry and lemon, using only half then and saving the other half for another time. You can also substitute ginger snaps for the vanilla wafers or mix in some pretzels for and extra crunch… The second time I made it I used a combination of lemon and lime on the jello…  The cherry was better, but we’ll try orange next time 😀

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY
1 small box Vanilla Wafers (crushed to make 2 cups of crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 small box lemon jello
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice and zest of 1 LARGE lemon + hot water to equal 1 cup
1 LARGE can Carnation milk (VERY COLD) 12 ounces VERY COLD heavy whipping cream
1 can pie cherries in glaze (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Crush wafers and mix with melted butter until well mixed.
  • Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  If you use the 8 it will COMPLETELY fill the pan.  If you use the 9 inch it provides a couple more pieces, just not as tall. 😀
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.
  • Whisk jello into hot water mixture until dissolved.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add in jello mixture until well blended.
  • Beat carnation milk with chilled beaters until very stiff.
  • Fold whipped milk into cheesecake mixture and pour into cooled crust pan.
  • Chill AT LEAST 8 hours, but this cheesecake is best made 24 hours in advance!
  • Top with whipped cream or pie cherries and enjoy!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
Your favorite pie crust recipe for a double crust
2 1/2 cups chopped FRESH red rhubarb
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  • Pour out into chilled crust.
  • Dot the top of the filling with the butter.
  • Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash.
  • Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling.
  • Crimp to seal edges.
  • Slice several vents into top to allow steam to escape.
  • Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar.
    bake for 15 minutes.
  • Decrease temperature to 375° and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, until the filling starts to bubble.

NOTES:

  • I often like to cook the filling first if the rhubarb is especially tough, but be sure to allow filling to cool COMPLETELY before filling crust.
  • Collar with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent burning.

CANDY BAR RICE KRISPIE TREATS

CANDY BAR RICE KRISPIE TREATS adapted from RecipeGirl.com
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
4 cups Rice Krispies
5-6 ounces chopped Butterfinger candy bars (or candy bar of your choice)*
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

  • Spray an 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter and peanut butter together over medium heat.
  • Add the marshmallows, stirring until melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the rice krispies.
  • Stir in the Butterfingers, reserving 1/4 cup as topping.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepare pan and press it evenly into the pan with clean hands.
  • Let it cool.
  • Cut the Krispie Treats into nine equal pieces and move them to a platter.**
  • Melt the chocolate chips and the shortening together in a small saucepan or in a small glass bowl in the microwave or until they are melted and smooth.
  • Spoon the chocolate into a zip baggie, snip the corner and squeeze the chocolate into the corner.
  • Drizzle chocolate onto each Krispie Treat and then sprinkle with some Butterfinger crumbs and then drizzle more chocolate on top.
  • Place the Krispie Treats in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Do NOT leave them in the refrigerator – they will get too hard!
  • Store them in a covered container.

NOTES:

  • *Use a candy bar with a cookie or nut base along with the chocolate. We prefer Heath bars, KIT KATs or Butterfingers.
  • **You can eat them as they are or store them in a covered container. Otherwise continue with the topping directions.

COWBOY BROWNIES

COWBOY BROWNIES
BROWNIES

1/4 cup butter
2 ounces QUALITY unsweetened chocolate
2 LARGE eggs
pinch sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup caramel bits
1/2 cup chopped nuts – OPTIONAL – (pecans or walnuts)

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Add butter and chocolate to double boiler, melting together until smooth.
  • When chocolate mixture is cool add eggs one at a time and salt, stirring to combine until creamy.
  • Add the sugar and vanilla, beating well.
  • Add the flour and cocoa, stirring until JUST combined.
  • Fold in caramel bits and raisins as well as nuts if you are using them.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and spread smooth.
  • Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake layer.

CHEESECAKE LAYER
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 LARGE egg
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate mini chips

  • Cream together the cream cheese, butter, cornstarch and sweetened condensed milk until fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla, beating until smooth.
  • Pour this layer over the brownie layer and spread smooth.
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the cheesecake layer.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes until cooked though and brownies are set.
  • Prepare icing just before brownies come out of the oven.

ICING
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened QUALITY cocoa
1/4 cup WHOLE milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts – OPTIONAL – (pecans or walnuts)

  • Beat the butter, cocoa, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
  • Spread icing on the brownies as soon as you remove them from the oven.
  • Sprinkle with nuts if you are using them.
  • Let stand until cool.
  • Cover any leftovers with saran and refrigerate.

NOTES: Good QUALITY chocolate, cocoa and vanilla make ALL the difference in the flavor of a good baked product 😀

HONEY BUTTER ROLLS ala SANDRA & SALLY

I have been looking for a soft and fluffy, but yet sweet like a Texas Roadhouse type roll for ages.  I accidentally found it by way of Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom who found the recipe over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

The only change I made to Sandra’s version was to use the bread flour that Sally recommends.

HONEY BUTTER ROLLS  Original Source:  Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 cup whole milk, warmed to about 110°F*
2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star® Platinum yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 cups bread flour (spoon and leveled)

  • Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
  • Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Give it a light stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.
  • With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the honey, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour.
  • Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
  • Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick, yet soft and only slightly sticky pulling away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. When it does, it is ready to knead. If, however, the dough is too sticky to handle– add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Make sure you do not add too much extra flour; you want a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  • Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a greased bowl– I usually just use olive oil or nonstick spray.
  • Turn the dough over to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. For this warm environment, preheat the oven to 200°, then turn oven off and place the bowl inside the warmish oven.
  • Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles.
  • Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 8 equal pieces for a total of 16 pieces that are about 1/4 cup each– golf ball size, give or take. They don’t need to be perfect!
  • Shape into balls as best you can and arrange in a greased 9×13 baking pan.
  • Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Bake the rolls for 18-21 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the edges of each roll look cooked.

TOPPING
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, very soft
2 Tablespoons (42g) honey

  • Mix the topping ingredients together to make a creamy honey butter.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done and brush or spread a generous amount of honey butter onto each warm roll.
  • Serve with any remaining honey butter.
  • Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Warm up in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.

NOTES based on SALLY and SANDRA:

  • WHOLE milk will make the richest soft rolls.  Anything less will make them chewier and dense.
  • Don’t leave off that honey butter topping! The rolls will be lacking a little flavor without it. I prefer spreading the honey butter on the rolls after they bake as opposed to before they bake. The reason is because spreading or brushing butter on top of the delicate, airy unbaked roll weighs them down and encourages them to deflate. Best to spread on the honey butter right after baking.

HONEY BUTTER DIP BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Tall, fluffy, sweet and buttery!  These biscuits NEVER disappoint!

HONEY BUTTER DIP BUTTERMILK BISCUITS Adapted from Brandie @ The Country Cook

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch FRESH ground black pepper
1 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Melt butter.
  • Stir honey into melted butter.
  • Pour melted butter and honey into an 8×8 baking dish.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Pour in the buttermilk into flour mixture, stirring until a loose dough forms, batter will be a bit sticky.
  • Pour biscuit dough into baking dish on top of the melted butter and spread as evenly as possible.  An offset spatula sprayed with non-stick spray helps.
  • Pre-cut the dough into 9 squares. This will help later when they are done.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and spring back to the touch, rotating dish once during baking.

unMORAVIAN CHICKEN PIE

I originally saw this recipe in Cook’s Country magazine and it sounded perfect for a COLD winter night. Hubby complained that it was too brown though and was really craving the veggies of a more traditional chicken pot pie (let’s face it many of us grew up on Swanson pot pies) so I adapted Kelly Price’s recipe in Cook’s Country magazine just a bit.

The name of the recipe really intrigued me (it sound like one of those made up countries for a royal wedding in a Hallmark movie 😀 ) so I did some research. A little history tutorial from wikipedia helped in understanding this recipe better.

I wanted to maintain the savory portion of this recipe as well as the original crust and gravy base, but needed to add some color and flavor for hubby which I guess makes it more of a a traditional chicken pot pie, but keeps my family happier 😀 I couldn’t do the open hearth so I settled for my oven. I did keep it protein heavy by not eliminating any of the chicken pieces when I added the veggies, so this becomes an overstuffed pie. This version uses a seared chicken instead of the boiled chicken. I think it adds another layer of flavor and makes things much simpler and quicker for me. You can even substitute rotisserie chicken pieces if you are in a serious hurry. I like to use chicken thighs because the dark meat is moister and has more flavor.

Moravians were a West Slavic ethnic tribe from Monravia, a region of the Czech Republic in the Early Middle Ages. Although it is not known exactly when the Moravian tribe was founded, Czech historian Dušan Třeštík claimed the tribe was formed between the turn of the 6th century to the 7th century, around the same time as the other Slavic tribes. The first known mention of the Moravians was in the Annales Regni Francorum in 822 AD. The tribe was located by the Bavarian Geographer between the tribe of the Bohemians and the tribe of the Bulgarians.

Like any historical area during the course of history, the control teetered back and forth. At times, the empire controlled even other neighboring regions, including Bohemia and parts of present-day Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. It emerged into one of the most powerful states in Central Europe. After the breakup of the Moravian Realm the Moravian tribe was divided between the new states Duchy of Bohemia and Hungary.

The western Moravians were assimilated by the Czechs and presently identify as Czechs for the most part. The modern nation of the Slovaks was formed out of the eastern part of the Moravian tribe within the Kingdom of Hungary.

Moravian chicken pie is a savory meat pie that seems to have originated in 1766 Salem, North Carolina by Moravian immigrants and were familiar with the preparation of meat pies, which are a staple of the cuisine of Central Europe, their ancestral home. It is a traditional double crusted pie made with flaky shortcrust pastry filled with only chunks of poached chicken meat and a thick broth-based sauce. In keeping with the simple, frugal Moravian lifestyle, the preparation of chicken pie required only five readily available ingredients (chicken, broth, flour, butter, salt) and a short baking time on an open hearth.  Unlike chicken “pot pies”, vegetables are never included in the filling. The pie is served in slices with hot chicken gravy on top, and extra gravy on the side. Mashed potatoes are a common accompaniment.

The traditional recipe for Moravian chicken pie has changed very little since colonial times, and its culinary fame has spread far beyond being just an iconic North Carolina dish. Moravian chicken pies are a staple of local church fundraisers, so much so that pastors are known to estimate the cost of various church projects by the number of chicken pies that must be sold to fund the project.

unMORAVAIN CHICKEN “POT” PIE serves 6-8 adapted from Kelly Price’s recipe in Cook’s Country
CRUST

1/2 cup sour cream
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

  • Combine sour cream and egg in bowl.
  • Process flour and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds.
  • Add butter and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain, about 10 pulses.
  • Add half of sour cream mixture and pulse until combined, 5 pulses.
  • Add remaining sour cream mixture and pulse until dough begins to form, about 10 pulses.
  • Transfer mixture to lightly floured counter and knead briefly until dough comes together.
  • Divide dough in half and form each half into 4-inch disk.
  • Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and foil and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before using.)
  • Remove 1 dough disk from refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Working on lightly floured counter, roll into 12-inch round and transfer to 9-inch pie plate, leaving 1/2-inch overhang all around.
  • Repeat with second dough disk and transfer to parchment – lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Cover both dough disks with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FILLING

2 1/2-3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained

  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Cook chicken until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate.
  • Pour fat (you should have 2 tablespoons) into small bowl; reserve. If you get less than 2 tablespoons of fat from browning the chicken supplement it with butter.
  • When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin.
  • Add broth, chicken, and bay leaf to now-empty pot and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered 15-18 minutes, until breasts register 175°.
  • Transfer chicken to bowl.
  • When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding bones.
  • Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into second bowl and reserve (you should have about 2¾ cups); discard bay leaf.

ASSEMBLY & BAKING

  • Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°.
  • Heat butter and reserved fat in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in 2 cups of reserved broth and the half-and-half and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gravy 6-8 minutes until thickened and reduced to 1¾ cups.
  • Season to taste.
  • Combine 1 cup gravy with shredded chicken; reserve remaining gravy for serving.
  • Fold in onions, peas and carrots.
  • Transfer chicken mixture to dough-lined pie plate and spread into even layer.
  • Top with second dough round, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang all around.
  • Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate.
  • Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal.
  • Cut four 1-inch slits in top.
  • Brush pie with egg and bake 18-20 minutes until top is light golden brown.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue to bake 10-15 minutes more until crust is deep golden brown.
  • Let pie cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

FINAL GRAVY

  • Add remaining ¾ cup reserved gravy and remaining ¾ cup reserved broth medium saucepan and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve pie with gravy.

NOTE: The pie may seem loose when it first comes out of the oven; it will set up as it cools.

ZUCCHINI GINGER CAKE with GINGER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

ZUCCHINI GINGER CAKE with GINGER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ala Valerie Bertinelli

CAKE
Unsalted butter, for the pans
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 ½ pounds zucchini
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups light brown sugar
4 LARGE eggs
1 ⅓ cups avocado oil
¾ cups whole milk
1 ½ tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  • Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and cloves together in a large bowl.
  • In a second large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, eggs, oil, milk, fresh ginger, vanilla and grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans; smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
  • Bake the cakes until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Use a serrated knife to carefully cut each cake in half horizontally, making four layers. OPTIONAL!

FROSTING
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, plus a few pieces sliced into thin strips, for garnish

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until incorporated
  • Beat in the chopped crystallized ginger.

ASSEMBLY (NOTE: – most times I just make a 2 layer cake which really only needs half as much frosting)

  • Place a cake layer on a cake stand or platter.
  • Spoon a quarter of the frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) on top and smooth it evenly with an offset spatula.
  • Stack another cake layer on top; repeat with the frosting.
  • Continue with the remaining cake layers and frosting, leaving the sides of the cake bare. Top with the sliced crystallized ginger.

LEMON POPPY SEED BLUEBERRY ROLLS

LEMON POPPY SEED BLUEBERRY SWEET ROLLS

FILLING
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
the zest of one lemon
1 cup FRESH small wild blueberries or defrosted frozen berries

  • Combine  sugar, and salt in bowl.
  • Stir in melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Set aside while you prepare the dough.

DOUGH
1 1/4 cup whole milk, divided
4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar; divided
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • Butter a cast iron baker or basking dish.
  • In a small heat proof bowl heat ¼ cup of the milk in the microwave until 110 degrees (about 15 to 20 seconds).
  • Stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and let sit until bubbly.
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and remaining 5 teaspoons of sugar together in large bowl.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 cup of milk until dough forms.
  • Transfer dough to a floured counter and knead until smooth ball forms, about 2 minutes.
  • Roll dough into a 12 by 9 inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge.
  • Brush dough all over with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving ½-inch border on far edge.
  • Sprinkle dough evenly with filling, then press filling firmly into dough.
  • Loosen dough from counter and roll away from you into a tight log and pinch seam to seal.
  • Roll log seam side down and cut into 8 equal pieces.
  • Stand buns on end and gently re-form ends that were pinched during cutting.
  • Place 1 bun in center of prepared pan and others around perimeter of pan, seam sides facing in.
  • Brush the tops of the buns with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Cover buns loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • After rising, bake buns until edges are well browned, 23 to 25 minutes.

Loosen buns from sides of pan with paring knife and let cool for 5 minutes.

LEMON CREAM CHEESE ICING GLAZE
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
*More lemon zest for topping

  • Mix together softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until combine.
  • Pour glaze evenly over tops of buns, spreading with spatula to cover.

TENDER WHITE CAKE with BUTTERCREAM or CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM

CAKE
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
3 2 3/4 cups + 2 scant tablespoons cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon CLEAR almond extract
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract powder
1 1/4 cups WHOLE milk, room temperature
2 ounces avocado oil

  • Preheat your oven to 335ºF.
  • Oil and flour two 8″ x 2″ cake pans or line 18 cupcake tins.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together milk, oil and extracts. Set aside.
  • Cream butter in a stand mixer until smooth.
  • Add sugar and whip 3-5 minutes on high until light and white.
  • Add in room temperature egg whites one at a time, letting each fully combine after each before adding the next.
  • Add in a third of the dry ingredients, combining well.
  • Add in half of the milk mixture, combining well.
  • Followed by another third of the dry, then the rest of the milk mixture and then the rest of your dry, mixing until just combined.
  • Add batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake at 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool ten minutes in pan and then turn out cakes onto a cooling rack for another 20 minutes.
  • Wrap cakes warm with saran and place into the freezer to flash chill to lock in the moisture.
  • Once cool, but NOT yet frozen, trim off the brown edges of your cakes and frost as desired.
  • Chill cake.

NOTE: Cake flour makes a much more tender cake, but you can substitute 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour. Cake flour and all purpose flour are NOT an exact substitution.

Everyone needs a good creamy, delicious frosting in the recipe file, but sometimes you need options. So here is a plain buttercream AND a cream cheese buttercream.

BUTTERCREAM
8 ounces egg whites (4-6 extra large eggs) room temperature
32 ounces (8 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
32 oz unsalted butter room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon CLEAR vanilla extract

  • Whisk egg whites and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk to combine on low then whisk on high, adding in your butter in small chunks, vanilla and salt. Turn mixer up to high and whip until light, fluffy and white.

CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
4 ounces salted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon of QUALITY, PURE Vanilla

  • Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixer until blended.
  • Add pinch of salt and powered sugar a cup at a time and continue to mix until sugar is WELL incorporated.

SNICKERDOODLE THUMBPRINTS for EASTER

I don’t know about you, but I have been watching A LOT of television during this pandemic lock down.  Or at least I have had it on to keep me company.  I had a Hallmark movie on the other day while I was cutting quilt pieces and they mentioned a cookie that I had all but forgotten about and can’t even remember the last time I made.  So, I dug out the recipe and made a batch for Easter.  I hope you are enjoying your Easter as best as you can and enjoy these cookies too.

SNICKERDOODLE THUMBPRINTS yield: 4 dozen

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⅔ cups sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1+ 1 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
1 cup prepared apple butter

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and ⅔ cup sugar. Beat at high speed with a mixer until light and creamy.
  • Add egg yolks and vanilla extract, beating until combined.
  • Add flour mixture, beating until incorporated.
  • In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, stirring to blend.
    Using a levered 2-teaspoon scoop, drop dough into cinnamon-sugar mixture, tossing to coat.
  • Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  • Using your thumb or the back of a rounded measuring spoon, press an indentation into the center of each dough ball.
  • Fill each indentation with ½ teaspoon apple butter.
  • Bake for 7 minutes.
  • Remove pans from oven, and fill each indentation with an additional ½ teaspoon apple butter.
  • Bake another 6-8 minutes until edges of cookies are golden brown.
  • Transfer cookies to wire cooling racks, and let cool completely.
  • Store in a single layer in airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to a day.

CINNAMON CRUMB STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE

Years and years ago I made the Bisquick box recipe of Cinnamon Crumb Streusel Coffee Cake and it was always a BIG hit. But as I progressed to scratch cooking it was apparent that my favorite coffeecake recipe had to be revamped! But, it had to remain moist, full of cinnamon flavor, buttery and with a bit of crunch to the top.

CINNAMON CRUMB STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE
CAKE

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 LARGE egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 cup WHOLE milk

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, scraping down the sides occasionally.
  • Add the vanilla and egg, mix in.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add one half of flour mixture to the mixer, and when mostly combined, add the milk.
  • Once the milk is mostly incorporated, add the rest of the flour. This will be a fairly thick batter.

FILLING
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar

  • In a small bowl, using 2 forks or a pastry cutter combine everything until soft crumbs form.

TOPPING
5 tablespoon butter, softened
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon

  • In a small bowl, using 2 forks or a pastry cutter combine everything until soft crumbs form.

ASSEMBLY

  • Grease a 9×9 baking pan.
  • “Pour” in ½ of cake batter, and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle the filling over top.
  • “Pour” in remaining cake batter, and with an offset spatula spread carefully across the top of the filling.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the top and press lightly so it adheres.
  • If you prefer your streusel to be more distributed, use a knife to create a bit of a swirl throughout the layers.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool slightly on wire rack before serving.

NOTE: My dad always would add a pat of butter to the top and let it melt for a few seconds in the microwave when eating it as a leftover 😀