Tag Archives: baking

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

 

People will often come to me with that burning question, “Mama, what’s you favorite summer fruit to bake with?”  Without wavering, I look them straight in the eye and answer, “peaches”.

I know there are those of you who stand steadfast in your belief that berries are the king of  summer baked goods.  There are yet others who rally around the other stone fruits such as nectarines and plums claiming they are best for the season’s baking. But I stand quite confidently behind the peach. It’s golden and sweet, and much like summer itself.

I found this recipe in the Sliver Palate Cookbook for Fresh Peach Cake about 15 years ago, and have been making it for my family ever since.  For me, it is the essence of summer comfort food. It’s heavenly served warm, right out of the oven. And for those of you who dare to walk on the wild side, you can add a dollop of vanilla ice cream, and dice up some fresh peaches to sprinkle over top…if you dare.

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

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Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

 

One of the things I look forward to the most in my life, are the weekly visits from son #1, “the chef”.  He’s a hard working guy who works 5 to 6 days a week, 14+ hours a day. So I have come to cherish that hour a week he’ll come and sit at my kitchen table and just talk to me about what’s going on his life.

As we sit across the table from one another, there is usually some kind of snack or homemade treat plopped on a plate in between us, because serious talking must always be accompanied by food.  Last week I didn’t really have anything to put out, so I grabbed a bag of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, some pretzels and potato chips. As we sat talking, we were sandwiching the two kinds of chips and the pretzels in between two large potato chips. We both kind of looked at each other and said damn, this is an amazing combination, bet it would make an awesome cookie!

I thought to myself, wow, how brilliant am I to have come up with this crazy-good flavor combination. Well, then I Googled it, and apparently thousands of other people have the same idea. So, I guess I’m not so brilliant. But you know what, I think you’re gonna really like these Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies.  You’ve got your sweet, your salty, and your crunchy all in one convenient cookie.

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

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Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Mama’s Tips:

I use an ice cream scoop to form my cookies. You want all the cookies to be the same size so that they will bake evenly.

If you can, get the “Kettle” chips as they are a sturdier chip. You don’t want the chips to get too pulverized or they won’t add crunch to the cookie.

Always add the chips, pretzels and potato chips last, and preferably mix these ingredients in by hand using a large spatula or wooden spoon.  Mix just until ingredients are incorporated.

You can take your butter and eggs out the night before or two hours before baking for room temperature ingredients.

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Pretzel and Potato Chip Cookies

Recipe: Easy 

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

The craziest thing happened the other day, true story… My son, son #2 that is, who is home from school on spring break, brought packaged blueberry muffins into my house. You know the kind that are filled with all kinds of preservatives, calories, and lord knows what else. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I spotted them sitting on the kitchen table. I said, dude, your mom writes a blog called Mama’s Gotta Bake! Think man, think!

Naturally I did what any good food blogger and mother would do, and raced to my kitchen and made my son homemade Blueberry Muffins with fresh, yes, fresh blueberries. I felt like I had restored order to the universe…

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Williams – Sonoma

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Sweet Rolls with Orange Glaze

Sweet Rolls with Orange Glaze

Sweet Rolls with Orange Glaze

When I began my first year away at college, I had heard about the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. It’s that bizarre anomaly that occurs the first time students go away to college and experience eating in the campus cafeteria where there’s not much that’s healthy, low calorie or pleasant tasting. Legend has it that most freshman will pack on fifteen pounds their first year. And sure enough, it happened to me. My mother claimed that when I came home for my winter break she hardly recognized me.

So do you know what the culprit was…Sweet Rolls. It was the one thing that the cafeteria at Rider University served that was actually edible. I used to eat them in mass quantities. So much so that the cafeteria ladies used to hide trays of them when they saw me coming so there would something left over for the other students. So that folks was how I began my lifelong obsession with the Sweet Roll.

Today I made these Sweet Rolls with Cardamom and Orange Glaze. This is not an overly sweet treat, they’re definitely more a roll than a pastry. I like to add cardamom which gives the roll a spicy-sweet taste and pairs very well with the orange glaze.

Sweet Rolls rising in the pan

Sweet Rolls rising in the pan

Sweet Rolls with Cardamom 

Adapted from the LA Times

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Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

I love”homey” food, but you already knew that, didn’t you. Some people like to curl up with a warm blanket and a book, I myself, like to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a piece of cake. When curling up, it’s always best not to have a piece of cake that’s too sweet and sugary. No, proper curling should be done with a less sweet, almost bread like cake that will perfectly compliment a cup of tea. Ta Da! That’s where this Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts comes in.

This cake is the BFF to a cup of tea. The “not-so-sweet” cake is filled with chunks of juicy apple and topped with earthy, crunchy pine nuts. Really, a perfect combination of flavors. This recipe will make two, 8″ x 4″ loaf cakes, so guess what, keep one for yourself and give the other to your BFF. Wrap it up in parchment paper and tie it with baker’s twine, and I guarantee, they’ll be very impressed.

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Apple Loaf with Pine Nuts

Adapted from Real Food, Winter 2013

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Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

Each year, I live for that two month period that begins with Halloween and sees me through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. I’m totally grateful that it’s filled with family, fun and way, I mean way too much food. It’s a whirlwind of turkeys, hams, cookies, cakes and lots and lots of sugar. In fact, I think I need to detox from all the sugar still in my system.

Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

But alas, it’s January 6th and the party’s over. The east coast friends have all gone home, the kid’s back at school and Mama is left jonesing for her next gig. Just business as usual. And so, I set my sights on Super Bowl Sunday.

The truth is, I don’t even like football, (did I just hear a gasp from all over America). But I love all the commercials, and who doesn’t love a good ‘ol half-time show. Ok, so just me. I know it’s a little far in advance, but I’ve already started planning my menu for game day. For dessert, I decided to serve these Banana Cream Pie Mini Shooters. Their taste scores a touchdown, but their small size won’t hit ‘ya in the end zone if you know what I mean. I know, lame football humor…

Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

Banana Cream Pie Dessert Shooters

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Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

So, Mama’s sportin’ a new tattoo these days that reads, “I never met a cookie I didn’t like!”. Anyone who knows me, know’s that that’s true. In some circles I’m known as the Countess of Cookies or the Duchess of Dough. Come on, everyone needs a cool nickname, right. So now that I’ve established that I may have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with our friend, the cookie, let me tell you how I put that obsession to good use. This month, I had the privilege of participating in the fundraiser Cookies For Kid’s Cancer, a non-profit organization that raises funds for pediatric cancer research. They’re an awesome organization. Over 600 foodbloggers from around the world participated in the event which raised over $13,000 for the charity. That’s a lot of dough, for a lot of dough if you know what I mean. This was a worldwide cookie swap. I sent a dozen cookies each to three foodbloggers, and in return I received cookies from three fellow foodbloggers. Yes, Mama was in cookie heaven, and no, I didn’t share.

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

The cookie I chose to send to my designated recipients were these Lemon Glazed Cookies. I packaged them in white, vintage canisters, and I hope my fellow bloggers enjoyed them as much as I do. I also wanted to acknowledge the two bloggers who worked so hard to put this event together. They are Lindsay, from Love & Olive Oil, and Julie from The Little Kitchen. So let’s give these ladies a big round of applause. And so my dear readers, I wish you all a warm and wonderful holiday season, however you may celebrate it. And, if you’re so inclined I urge you to click on the Cookies For Kids Cancer website and send a little love their way.

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies

Lemon Glazed Cookies From Great Cookies by Carole Walter

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Apple Pie in a Bag

Apple Pie baked in a brown paper bag

Apple Pie baked in a brown paper bag

It’s getting closer to the big day, you know what day I’m talking about, right? Thanksgiving, of course. It’s my most special meal, well it seems every meal is my most special meal, but this one definitely is. In fact, I am so excited I can hardly contain myself.  It’s the one day I will eat with reckless abandon. For me it’s a food version of a perfect storm. Every food I consider to be one of my favorites will make an appearance at my Thanksgiving table.

I embrace this holiday not just for the food, but for the fact that I truly am thankful for the food, and for my family.

I was speaking to my sister-in-law, Wanda the other day and she told me about a pie she makes that is my brother’s favorite. Since Apple Pie is a requisite for any Thanksgiving dinner I thought I would try it out before the big day. I was intrigued because this pie was baked in a brown paper grocery bag. She said that the bag kept the crust from over browning and that the apples became soft and tender and stayed juicy. Hmmmm, sounds like Mama needed to give this a try. Well Wanda, I was quite pleased with the results. I used a pre-made crust for this pie, but hey, if you’ve got the energy then go ahead and make your own crust.

Apple Pie baked in a bag

Apple Pie baked in a bag

Apple Pie in a Bag 

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Removing Apple Pie from the paper bag

Removing Apple Pie from the paper bag

Recipe: Easy

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Life is funny, nothing ever stays the same.  Friends, please forgive me for getting all sentimental and philosophical on you, but this time of year brings back lovely memories for me. It doesn’t seem so long ago that by mid-October every year my boys and I would spend hours planning their costumes for Halloween, who they would walk the neighborhood with, and which candy I should buy to give out to the local revelers. But things have changed, my boys have moved on to begin their own lives, and my husband and I have been left here to celebrate Halloween alone, just us and a few bags of mini Snickers bars. I know, so sad.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that the local children will not even walk up my long, steep driveway for a measly mini candy bar anymore. In recent years I’ve had to go stand at the bottom of the driveway with “full sized” candy bars if I wanted to see any action.

Halloween is also that time of year when I can use pumpkin with reckless abandon.  I love to use it in muffins, cookies, cakes and pies, and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular all year round. One of my fall favorites is this Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze.  The cake part is mildly flavored with those traditional autumn spices, and the streusel filling is a perfect little surprise in the middle of the cake. What could be bad about pumpkin, nuts and chocolate.

So, one last thing.  Do you think it would be weird if I asked my 25 year-old son to let me dress him up as a Power Ranger so we could go house to house trick-or-treating together? I’m just kidding, kinda’.

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Adapted from “Very Best Baking”

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Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

 

My favorite time of the year is the end of September when summertime evaporates into a fond memory and leaves turn golden and the air turns crisp.  Oh wait, that was my former life growing up on the east coast.  As Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue last night referring to the autumn in Los Angeles; that it was a “bone-chilling 95 degrees today”. He went on to say, “that we have one season…and it’s the good one!”  I’ll be honest with you, since moving to the west coast I definitely do not miss the other three seasons, but I do have a major hankering for the fall. After residing here for three decades I still bring out the heavy sweaters and boots this time of year, and yeah, I’m sweating profusely in my effort to embrace the season.

It’s time to say good bye to the summertime fruity favorites; strawberries, blueberries, peaches and plums and hello to cranberries, apples, pumpkins and pears. I do love the latter as they harken the start of the holiday season, and all the celebratory family meals ahead of me.

My personal favorite fall fruit is pears. In this gluten-free cake, they are paired with almond meal, sliced almonds and fresh pear puree which results in an overly moist and flavorful cake. I think this Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free will become one of your go-to desserts for the upcoming season.

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake – Gluten Free

From USA Pears

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