Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

I’m not much for Hollywood award shows, but I’m not gonna lie, I love the Academy Awards. I love the spectacle of it, the gowns, the speeches, the whole shebang. I was invited to an Academy Awards party at a friends house this Sunday and interestingly enough, it’s all girls. Is this event something that just doesn’t appeal to men? Don’t they want to see who’s wearing what? I guess not.

My participation required that I bring a dessert, which I’m always happy to do. To pay homage to classic Hollywood, I’ll be bringing a classic cake. This version of Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake is chock full of fresh blueberries and drizzled with a tart lemon glaze. I’ve decided to top mine with a sprinkling of sliced almonds.

Anyway, I’m hoping for “The Imitation Game” to win best picture, I would be curious to hear your choices. And please take a look at another one of my bundt cakes here.

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

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Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Recipe: Easy

 
 

Butterscotch Pudding Shooters

Butterscotch Pudding Shot Glass Dessert

Butterscotch Pudding Shot Glass Dessert

As a kid growing up in Philadelphia I can clearly remember those February days trudging home from school through several feet of snow. Our noses were frozen, our hands were numb and our toes were all but frozen off.  After peeling off layers of clothing, hats, gloves and boots, my mother always greeted my brothers and I with a dish of butterscotch pudding and a dollop of whipped cream. It was like instant warmth and coziness in a bowl.

I have taken that beloved family treat and turned it into a Butterscotch Pudding Shooter. The base of this dessert is a creamy, homemade butterscotch pudding that is layered with a crunchy gingersnap crumble and topped with a cinnamon spiced whipped cream. Say goodbye to Jell-O pudding and Cool Whip and hello to homemade because this is so easy to make.

For my other shot glass desserts look here, and here and here.

Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding Shooters

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Butterscotch Pudding Shooters

Butterscotch Pudding Shooters

Mama’s Tips:

The components for this dessert can be made in advance (earlier in the day) and then assembled at the last minute.

If you’re not going to serve the pudding warm, but instead going to use it for the shot glass dessert; place it it a shallow bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding so a skin will not form and the pudding’s consistency remains creamy.

Butterscotch Pudding Shot Glass Desserts

Butterscotch Pudding Shot Glass Desserts

Recipe: Easy

 
 

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

Oh how I love the smell of cinnamon and chocolate in the morning.  Now tell me, who doesn’t like to start their day with cake. Well, I do. This morning I have cousins Ted and Mary Alice visiting from West Virginia and we’re going to start the day off with a hot cup of “joe” and these Coffee Cake Muffins. Why do you think my relatives travel all the way across the country to see me…that’s right…because I give them cake in the morning.

I give you my word, that you will be a hero if you awaken your family to the smell of cinnamon, chocolate and toasted walnuts wafting through the house.   We ate these straight out of the oven, because God forbid we should wait 10 minutes for them to cool. Go ahead…be a hero.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins 

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Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

I remember the days (not fondly) when New Year’s Eve meant finding a wild party,  a cute dress and a cuter date. It was so much pressure. For the last decade or so, we’ve been doing New Year’s at my friend Cindy’s. No carrying on or debauchery,  just good food, good friends and a good time. We  watch the Times Square Ball drop on TV, and at 12:01  we all pack up and go home. It’s my kind of night.

I’m in charge of dessert this year and I’ll be bringing these Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters. They’re an elegant dessert, and festive for any occasion. It’s a piece of lemon meringue pie in a shot glass, perfect for those who just want a little somethin’ after dinner.

I just want to wish everyone who’s followed my blog a healthy and happy 2015!

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

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Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters

Lemon Meringue Pie Shot Glass Desserts

Lemon Meringue Pie Shot Glass Desserts

Recipe: Intermediate

 
 

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Well, I don’t mean to sound like a real Negative Nancy, but I find this holiday gift giving thing very stressful and frustrating. Each year I have given a myriad of socks, scarves, assorted candles and fragrance items. pajamas, CD’s,  Ninja Turtles, and novelty night lights and quite honestly I’ve never seen anybody act very excited upon receiving these most generous of gifts.

So I have adopted a new holiday gift giving policy this year and that is that I will only be giving out food gifts that I make. I’m hoping that my loved ones will appreciate something that I’ve made with my own two hands and see that it has come straight from the heart and not from Macy’s.

One of the items that I’ll be making this holiday is my Chocolate Bark with Almonds. This stuff is better than any poly-cotton blend scarf or George Michael CD…and, so easy to make!  I use a good quality bittersweet chocolate and add salty roasted almonds and sweet fluffy marshmallows. The secret ingredient is espresso powder because everybody knows that coffee and chocolate were made to be together. Seriously, I know I’m gonna nail it this year.

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds 

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Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Mama’s Tips:

When melting chocolate, take care not to get any moisture into the chocolate as it will “seize”, and not to let it get too hot as chocolate burns very easily.

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Chocolate Bark with Almonds

Recipe: Easy

 
 

Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples

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This is the weirdest thing, but I only eat stuffing once a year, that being at Thanksgiving time. It’s probably a wise choice being that carbohydrates are definitely not my friend, and stuffing is basically a big loaf of bread with a lot of cool stuff in it. But, with that being said, I have every intention of piling my plate high this holiday with my Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples.

There are those in my family who are traditionalists and insist on my mother’s bread stuffing with celery and onions. It is an all-time family favorite and wins her rave reviews every year. But I don’t let that deter me from shaking things up a little around the Thanksgiving table with my rendition, which combines the savory taste of the mushrooms together with the tart sweetness of the apples and dried cherries. The chopped pecans add that unexpected crunch. Well I just might eat the whole bowl!

Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples

Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples

Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples

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Recipe: Easy

 
 

Classic Apple Pie

Classic Apple Pie

Classic Apple Pie

I think Classic Apple Pie is one of those dishes that everyone on the face of the planet loves.  No really, I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t love it. If you know somebody, send me their name so I can have a talk with them.

Okay, now let’s talk crust. I don’t have a problem with ready made crust, they’re not terrible, but who knows what’s in them. In fact, you will expend more energy going to the market to purchase one then you will if you make it yourself using a few simple ingredients.  You can use mixers, and food processors to make your dough, but I like to use this recipe because I don’t have to pull out and clean heavy equipment. I can make it in one bowl just using my hands. Bam! It’s done in just 10 minutes.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Classic Apple Pie 

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Mama’s Tips:

The edge of the pie crust tends to brown very quickly, so once it becomes golden you should use a pie protector like this one, or cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

For optimum flavor, use a variety of tart and sweet apples. For suggestions, check out the apple chart in this post.

Make sure your butter is very cold. Dice it up into 1/4″ cubes and then place it back in the refrigerator until your just ready to use it.

Recipe: Intermediate

 
 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

I live in a town called Calabasas.  It’s home to such American luminaries as Drake, Jennifer Lopez, the Jackson’s and an overabundance of Kardashians.  The word Calabasas comes from the Spanish word, “calabaza” which means pumpkin. So, in our little town the pumpkin is actually a more revered member of society  than those pesky Kardashians.

I have long been a dedicated fan to the pumpkin, well, because orange is my favorite color, but more importantly because the pumpkin harkens the beginning of “the holiday season”. Once the pumpkin makes its guest appearance I know Halloween is just around the corner. And boy, how I love kids, candy and costumes. For me, from the last day of October, to the first day of January it is a non-stop sugar fest. I adore Halloween treats, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Cookies and New Year’s Eve desserts. That’s what I was put on this earth do to.

So, it is with great pride that I bring you my Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting. I hope that you might give them a try, and kick off your own “holiday season”. For Mama’s other pumpkin treats check them out here and here.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting 

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Mama’s Tips:

Always let your cupcakes cool completely before frosting them, otherwise you’ll have a soupy mess.

Rotate your cupcake tin halfway through baking to insure even baking as the oven temp varies at different points in the oven.

Some kitchen tools you will need for this recipe:

  • A pastry bag and large tip, if you choose to pipe on the frosting
  • A kitchen torch (or creme brûlée torch) if you want to toast the frosting. I used this one.
  • A candy thermometer to check the temperature of the frosting.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Recipe: Intermediate

 
 

Autumn Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

I recently returned from a trip to the Philadelphia area. We went to visit my friends Carol and Larry who live in rural Bucks County,  but it was also an opportunity for me to go “home”.  I grew up in suburban Philadelphia, and although I left there 34 years ago,  it will always be home to me. There is a lot of truth in the saying “home is where the heart is”, and my heart still remains in Philadelphia.

It was the perfect time of year to head east.  The days were growing a little shorter, and the nights were becoming a bit crisper. As we drove the quaint country roads dotted with small farms, there were apples for sale everywhere. My friends said they never buy their fruit in a a grocery store, instead for most of the year, they go to these local farms and pick their own fruit.

On one particularly cool evening I baked my Autumn Apple Crumble with some of the crisp local apples we had just purchased that day. It was the perfect dessert to share with good friends over a cup of coffee. For me, this crumble is a little bit oatmeal cookie, and a little bit apple pie. Two things I can never get enough of.

For other fruit desserts, look here and here.

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Autumn Apple Crumble

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Autumn Apple Crumble

Autumn Apple Crumble

Bucks County

Bucks County

Blue Skies and Corn Fields

Blue Skies and Corn Fields

Recipe: Easy

 
 

Roasted Pears with Yogurt

Roasted Pears

Roasted Pears

Okay, raise your hand if you like to eat dessert first! Don’t be embarrassed, I’m totally willing to admit publicly that on many occasions I will have dessert before I eat my dinner. Sometimes if I’m feeling so inclined I’ll skip dinner and just opt for dessert. Why ingest all those unnecessary calories from dinner if I don’t need to.  If ever there is an occasion to skip dinner and head directly for dessert it’s when I’m serving these Roasted Pears with Yogurt.

Which, if you ignore the sugar and butter, it’s actually a pretty darn healthy thing to eat. However, it’s the butter and the sugar that help to create this luscious, caramel-tasting sauce that envelopes the tender pears. The combination of the sweet pears, tart yogurt and crunchy, toasted nuts is out-of-his-world good! The sauce is infused with vanilla bean, fresh thyme and orange juice which creates scrumptious layers of flavor.

It’s really a very easy dessert to make as the pears do most of the work as they roast in the oven. I’ll serve this to the family for a quick weeknight dessert yet I think it makes quite an elegant presentation for guests.

For Mama’s other pear recipes, just go here and here

Roasted Pears

Roasted Pears

Roasted Pears

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Mama’s Tips: 

Dipping the cut pears in lemon water will prevent the pears from turning brown, which will make for a beautiful presentation.

A simple melon baller is the perfect tool for scooping out the seeds from a pear.

To toast the nuts, just place them in a small, dry frying pan over low heat and stir constantly until the nuts become fragrant. Do not leave them unattended as the nuts can burn quite quickly.

Roasted Pears

Roasted Pears

Recipe: Easy