Tag Archives: dessert

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

5 Apr

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

As long as I can remember, my dad and I have shared a love of pineapple. We always had a container of the fresh fruit cut up at all times, or backup cans in the pantry in case the ones at the market weren’t quite ripe enough.
One day, I took to the kitchen to find out what dessert I could make that would feature pineapple. We tried making cookies, but they were definitely out of the question, because they were so soggy! The combination of pineapple and chocolate didn’t appeal to us, so brownies and fudge cake were not an option either. Finally, we settled on vanilla cake. What could be better than making my favorite fruit into cake form? It was then that our version of pineapple upside down cake was born.
Years later, I’m still tweaking the recipe, adding spices and extra pineapple juice for a richer flavor, but it’s still the first recipe that my dad and I worked together on.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

4 eggs
½ cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 can sliced pineapple
1 cup cake flour, sifted
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Take melted ½ cup of butter and pour over bottom of a 10 inch cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over butter and lay out pineapple slices evenly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Separate the egg yolks and whites into two bowls. In one bowl, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. Gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into whites until barely combined. Fold in the 1 tablespoon melted butter. Spread batter evenly over pineapple in pan. Bake for 30 minutes, and cool before flipping out of pan!


Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

25 Feb


I’m going to confess something: I have a really bad habit of buying really nice loaves of fresh-baked bread with all the good intentions of making delicious sandwiches and then totally forgetting about them. This past weekend, my guy Stephen was pretty bummed when he went searching for bread and found a dry, week-old slab that just wasn’t cutting it as sandwich material. It seemed like a total loss until I found some chocolate chips lying around and decided that making bread pudding was the perfect apology and fix for such a sad situation. I grabbed a serrated knife and got to work. A little while later, I had a much happier companion and no stale bread!

Not only is this recipe great for using up older bread (fresh bread is perfectly okay too!), the add-ins and even the type of bread can be different every time. For example, chocolate brioche with dried cranberries makes an amazing wintry treat, or you can use sourdough and add nuts. If you really want to go out on a limb, cut the sugar amount in half to make a savory bread pudding; sausage and fennel with a cheddar cheese topping is my favorite. The options are unlimited.

For this recipe, the temperature is set to 325 degrees, but I prefer to aim lower at 300. It’ll take a little longer, but it will ensure that your eggs don’t overcook and nothing burns. You will also have to use a water bath, but don’t worry; find a baking dish that the bread pudding will sit comfortably in, set it in the oven and pour water to fill the pan, only halfway up. When it’s time to take it out, use oven mitts to extract only the pan with the bread pudding in it. Leave the water bath in the oven until it cools and can be safely taken out without burning yourself. Also, the timing on this has a little wiggle room since the bread needs about 15 minutes to really soak up the custard mixture.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding


2 ½ cups of cubed bread (I like using challah for this recipe because it’s a rich bread)
3 eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all wet ingredients and spices and whisk together well until it is a smooth mixture. Put bread in 6-8 inch pan and pour egg mixture over bread. Sprinkle chocolate chips and put in a 300 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm!

Valentine’s Day Dessert – Chocolate Pavlova

13 Feb


With Valentine’s Day comes the planning, sending (or receiving) flowers, buying candies, picking out overly-sentimental greeting cards, and of course assembling a killer outfit. It’s enough to make even the most sane person go a little crazy. But even after all of that is figured out, you still have a tiny problem: what can you possibly serve for dessert?

The solution is a chocolate pavlova. A delicious and quick treat, it’s bound to impress your date, your friends, and your taste buds. It’s simple, but will have even the most finicky foodie falling in love. This baked meringue boasts a hard shell with a chewy center that’s surprising and satisfying. I like to finish mine with a deliciously light orange mascapone cream and a sprinkling of candied pistachios.

Chocolate Pavlova with Orange Cream


8 1/2oz egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp vinegar
1tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
2oz 55% chocolate

Orange Cream

2 cups mascapone
1 orange juice & zest
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup cream


Sift all dry ingredients (except cream of tartar) and set aside. Put whites in medium bowl/ mixer and set to medium speed. When lightly frothy, add cream of tartar. Slowly stream in sugar and whip until soft peaks form in the meringue. Stream in wet ingredients, mix until combined and remove from mixer. Gently fold in sifted dry ingredients. Spoon dollops (you can vary the size to your liking) on a siltpat or a sheetpan with parchment. Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until hard shell forms.


Lightly whip all ingredients together until cream is smooth & can hold it’s shape.

Garnish as desired and enjoy!

What I Want for Christmas: A Quirky Wish List for the Innovative Baker

22 Dec

bf8b1bd4ef819bd35c28b0e601ff4c57Half the fun of having kitchen gadgets is showing them off. Look! I made a batch of brownies that are all edge pieces. Here’s a list of funky baking goodies for the baker who has everything:

Bake two pies at once, a pie tin for indecisive cravings.

Sample your cake before you share it with this “piece for the baker” cake pan.

Bake a cake in any shape you mold with this innovative cake pan.

Never slice again, or just make many slices differently with this portioned cake pan.

Are you a fan of edge pieces? Exclude the middle with this brownie, blondie or cornbread maker.

Do all your measuring with one cup. Adjustable amounts and easy to pop into the bowl (a great tool for sticky substances like shortening).

Bake a mustache cake for your ironically inclined friends.

Empty your cupcake center neatly and fill it back up.

I didn’t even know cakesicles existed, but now you can make them (handles included!)

Put the baking tray right on a rack, a great cooling method for a tiny kitchen.

Have a great holiday with your new gadgets!

[ Photo via Koyal Wholesale ]

The Best Hanukkah Recipes – Mom’s Matzo Brie

12 Dec

In honor of Hanukkah, I asked my Mom to share her amazing recipe for Matzo Brie with the Cookbook Create community. It’s not technically a Hanukkah dish, but it became such a hit in our household that we requested it year-round.


Lighting the menorah with my family in Northern California, circa 1989.

Take it away, Mom!

Barbara Richter: This dish is traditionally eaten at Passover, but it’s so delicious, that my family loves to eat it at other holidays, as well. I usually make it for breakfast, making sure to have plenty of ingredients on hand, because everyone is sure to want seconds!  The recipe comes from a Jewish cookery book that I found in Vienna, Austria, back in the 70’s, when I was a student studying there at Academy of Music.

Continue reading

Chai Pumpkin Pie

18 Nov

If you’ve ever made pumpkin pie without using pumpkin spice mix, and likewise, made your own chai without the tea mix, you may have realized that the two are not dissimilar. In fact, the only spices that separate them are cardamom, allspice and occasionally black pepper. So why not combine the two? Here’s an easy way to spice up your classic Thanksgiving dessert, without adding prep time! Continue reading

You can’t go wrong with chocolate (especially Halloween chocolate)

1 Nov

“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”

-Jo Brand

Speaking of chocolate: Here is our food writer Emily’s go-to Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe for banishing cold weather blues and using up holiday chocolates!

Cookbook Preview: Thanksgiving: How To Cook It Well by Sam Sifton

23 Oct

That time of year is upon us once again. Just a few short weeks ago, it was iced teas and summer salads, enjoying the hot, sunny days of eating outdoors, and cooking light recipes for friends.  Now, it’s the time to come indoors and take on the daunting task of planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner for our guests.

Will the turkey be frozen when I slice it at the table? Will the stuffing be dry? Who’s going to wash all these dishes? Thankfully, Sam Sifton, former New York Times restaurant critic, has come to our rescue by compiling a well thought-out holiday game plan with his new highly-anticipated book Thanksgiving: How To Cook It Well.

Sam Sifton has taken the panic attack out of preparing Thanksgiving dinner and has provided us with a step-by-step, easy-to-read 50 recipe guide covering everything from the proper knives and tools, to cleaning up as you cook to eliminate a pile up of dishes, to that awaited leftover turkey sandwich. Because, lets face it— you will need fuel for Black Friday shopping.

For many people, the turkey is the centerpiece—the pride and joy of the dinner table. Days (or maybe even months) before Thanksgiving, the fear of picking the wrong turkey comes over us.  According to Sifton, being able to distinguish between fresh, frozen, Kosher, free range, organic, and heritage is all you need to understand how to pick the perfect Thanksgiving bird. Knowing the basics will help everyone, from the cook hosting his or her first Thanksgiving to the experienced entertainer.

There are several things in the book that will help me in the next couple of weeks, and there are great recipes I plan on adding to my menu this year (the roasted cauliflower with anchovy bread crumbs, for one).

We’ve included a preview of one of Sam’s great recipes in Thanksgiving:How to Cook it Well. Take a look at this pear cobbler dessert recipe; it is sure to wow your holiday guests.

Pear Cobbler Recipe

  • 2 1⁄2 lbs. pears, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges (6–8 medium- sized pears will do it)
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. diced candied ginger (optional)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9- inch cast- iron skillet or 8- inch square baking dish. Place the fruit in a large bowl, and add 1⁄2 cup sugar and the lemon juice and zest. Gently mix until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to the skillet and top with candied ginger, if using.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add the butter and, using a fork, work it together with the dry ingredients until the mixture is coarse. In a separate bowl, stir the egg and milk until combined. Pour over the flour and butter mixture and stir to combine into a smooth

3. Using your fingers, place clumps of dough the size of golf balls on top of the fruit mixture, pressing down slightly to create a rough- textured, cobbled crust. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

** Picture and recipe from Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton. Copyright © 2012 by Sam Sifton. Excerpted with permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. **


What is Your Favorite Pecan Recipe?

11 Oct

We can’t get enough of pecans this fall.  Here is our favorite recipe; what’s yours?

3 Political Cookie Recipes for Homemade Cookies Day

1 Oct

As the presidential race heats up this fall, we have three fabulous cookie recipes to heat up your kitchen.

We’ve got:

  1. Bill Clinton’s Oatmeal Cookies
  2. Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
  3. Thin Mints (Obama’s favorite Girl Scout Cookies)
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