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Posts tagged ‘sweets’

Blueberry Angel Muffins

Earlier this summer I found myself practically buried in fresh blueberries. I was rifling through all of my cookbooks looking for something new and different to make using some of the berries. I landed on this recipe for angel food cake muffins with blueberries.

One word: WOW.

These were delicate & sweet with happy little bursts of berries. Without a doubt I will be making these muffin/cupcakes again.

Blueberry Angel Muffins

(from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark)

Makes 12 standard sized muffins

  • non-stick cooking spray, for the muffin cups
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 large egg whites (7 ounces), at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 6 teaspoons additional for sprinkling
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a standard-size muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use ungreased paper muffin cups.
  2. Sift the cake flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper and set aside. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the vanilla.
  3. In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and beat at medium until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining granulated sugar, a raise the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form. While the eggs are beating, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. When you have stiff peaks, stop the machine and remove the bowl. Immediately sprinkle the dry ingredients and lemon zest over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula, working carefully to avoid deflating the whites. Fold in half of the blueberries.
  5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups so that each is two-thirds full. Top each muffin with a few more blueberries and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  6. Bake on the center rack until the muffins are lightly golden and a cake tester insterted in their centers comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin as soon as they come out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Serve within 4 hours.

Chocolate Banana Squares

Sometimes, I just have too many bananas lying around.  How do I get myself into these situations?? I innocently buy a bunch of bananas thinking “we’ll definitely use these” and then several days later I end up having a bunch of very ripe bananas staring at me from my kitchen counter.

This time around, I browsed through several of my cookbooks to find something other than banana bread or banana muffins. Something that would use up some of those ripe bananas. I landed on these chocolate banana squares from the cookbook Gourmet Sweets.

These squares have a shortbread crust and a layer of sweet gooey banana slices topped with a chocolate drizzle. They were packed with banana flavor. They make your fingers a little messy so be sure to have napkins handy when you serve these little guys.

Chocolate Banana Squares

(From Gourmet Sweets)

For Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

For Banana topping

  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and butter a 9″ square backing pan
  2. Making Crust: In a food processor pulse crust ingredients until a dough just forms. Pat dough evenly onto bottom of baking pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes or until pale golden.
  3. Make Banana Topping: Cut bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices and in a large bowl toss with brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice.
  4. Transfer topping to crust, spreading evenly .
  5. Bake in upper third of oven for 40 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
  6. Chop chocolate and melt in a bowl microwave until shiny. stir to complete melting. Transfer melted chocolate to a small heavy-duty plastic bag and gently squeeze chocolate to 1 corner. Snip a small hole in corner and pipe chocolate over banana squares in a back and forth motion to form thin stripes. Let squares stand until chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.

Squares keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers at room temperature, 2 days.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

I’ve found some great deals on fresh blueberries at various markets this summer. As a result I’ve done quite a bit of baking with blueberries. One of the first blueberry recipes that I made this year were Blueberry Crumb Bars from Bon Apetit magazine. I made these delicious little bites for a cookout.  They had a strong, bright blueberry flavor. They were definitely at their best the day they were made…after that the crumb topping  got a bit too damp.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

(from Bon Apetit July 2009)

Makes 24 bars


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 15 ounces) or one 12-ounce package frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup blueberry preserves (10 to 11 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

For crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter bottom of 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add 1 cup butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in small clumps.

Transfer 2 cups to medium bowl; mix in almonds and reserve for topping.

Press remaining crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden and just firm to touch, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread evenly over crust in pan, then sprinkle reserved topping over.

Bake bars until filling bubbles thickly at edges and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes; cool in pan on rack. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars.

the crust and crumb topping can be made two days ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Mini Ricotta Cake (Cookies)

I don’t know about you but I have a bit of a recipe obsession.  You can clearly see this by viewing my floor-to-ceiling shelf of cook books. you can also see this if you happen to find my giant binder stuffed to the gills with recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines. Lately I said to myself: “Self, you should really start cooking more of these torn-out recipes so I can discard them as not-worthy of making again or transpose them to the internet and discard the torn-out page”.

And so, that is how I decided to make these sweet simple little ricotta cakes.  I had torn this recipe out of a magazine and it looked like the perfect way to use up some ricotta that I had leftover from making lasagna.

End result: easy to make and delicious. They were gobbled right up by the guys who were installing our new hardwood floors!

Mini Ricotta Cakes

Makes about 2-3 dozen Prep 15 minutes Bake at 350 for 14 minutes


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

1) Heat oven to 350 f. Coat 2 baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3) Beat butter and granulated sugar together until blended. Add egg, ricotta and vanilla, beating until combined.

4) On low-speed, add flour mixture and beat until blended.

5) Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 14 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool on sheet 3 minutes, then move to rack to cool completely.

6) GLAZE: Beat confectioners’ sugar and milk together until well blended. Dip tops of cookies into glaze and set aside until glaze has hardened.

Chocolate Pistachio Bundt Cake

I recently finished reading the essay collection Talking with My Mouth Full where the author talked about various food memories. With each essay, the author included one or more recipes. One of the chapters was about Bundt cakes. This recipe was one of the ones associated with that essay. It’s definitely not a from scratch cake, but it was quick and easy.  You start with a box of yellow cake mix and a box of pistachio instant pudding…add a little orange juice, chocolate syrup and a few other things…and voila: Bundt-y Goodness. You can’t really tell by the picture but the cake has a slightly green tint to it from the pistachio pudding.


Chocolate Pistachio Bundt Cake

  • 1   pkg.   yellow cake mix (about 18 oz.)
  • 1   pkg.   instant pistachio pudding mix (3 oz.)
  • 1/2  C.   orange juice
  • 1/2  C.   water
  • 1/2  C.  vegetable oil
  • 4    eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate syrup
  1. Butter & flour a Bundt pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl add: cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Blend to moisten, then beat 2 minutes on medium speed. 
  3. Pour 2/3 of batter into prepared bundt pan.
  4. Add chocolate syrup to remaining batter and mix well.
  5. Pour over batter in pan and drag knife through top of batter to encourage marbling.
  6. Bake cake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. cool on rack for 15 minutes and then invert cake onto serving dish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).

French Chocolate Brownies

After a couple of trips to the Caribbean, we have an excess of rum in our home. Several of the hotels we stayed at gave us a free bottle of rum when we checked in. So, now we have several bottles of rum rattling around in our Booze Basement (not quite a wine cellar).

Dorie Greenspan’s French Chocolate Brownie recipe gave me an excuse to use some of that rum and to play with matches!  These brownies contain rum raisins. I reconstituted some golden raisins in water and then added some dark rum which I lit on fire to burn off the alcohol.


The brownies were fudgy and the raisins added a nice texture difference. Overall, the brownies were good but they weren’t my favorite brownies ever.

You can find the recipe for the French Chocolate Brownies at Di’s Kitchen Notebook . Di selected this recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie in June of 2008.

Easy Sticky Buns

I have fond memories of my paternal grandmother’s pecan sticky buns.  She used to make huge batches of them around the holidays so that there were enough for others to take home. I’ve never made my own sticky buns from scratch, and while these Easy Sticky Buns from Ina Garten were not quite from scratch they were super easy (as advertised) and quick to make.


Instead of making your own dough, you start with frozen pastry dough and spread it with brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon.  You roll them up and put them in muffin cups that have a layer of pecans, butter and brown sugar.  And once they are baked and you invert the rolls onto a plate, they are topped with a buttery sweet caramel sauce. easystickybuns2This Barefoot Blogger selection was made by Melissa of Made by Melissa. Melissa selected this recipe after seeing Ina Garten make them on the Today Show and several other programs.

Easy Sticky Buns

Makes 12

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted for the filling
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
  4. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.