Saturday, September 15, 2012

Peach Challah Bread

This weekend is Rosh Hashana and I had a bunch of bourbon peach preserves left from a cheesecake I made last week.  So I combined two challah recipes from smitten kitchen and made this! 
 Peach Challah
I combined these two recipes and used some leftover bourbon peach preserves for the filling

One tip: If you measure your oil in your 1/3 cup measuring cup first, and then your honey, the honey will slide right out.
Makes 1 round woven challah

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard 1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp (79 ml) plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup (79 ml) neutral oil, plus more for the bowl
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
4 1/4 cups all-purpose (530 grams) or bread flour (578 grams), plus more for your work surface

Peach Filling:  make a day before (you’ll need 3 cups)

    8 ripe but firm peaches (about 3 pounds)
    6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    2/3 cup Bourbon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.

    Dice peaches Arrange in single layer on 1 prepared baking sheet.
    Whisk together melted butter, bourbon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle on diced peaches. Sprinkle sugar on diced peaches. Toss peaches to coat and rearrange in single layer. Roast until peaches are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes, alternating baking sheets’ positions halfway through. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
    Transfer peaches to a heavy sauce pan and cook until peaches fall apart (or put in crock pot on high until cooked down)

Egg wash
1 large egg
Coarse or pearl sugar for sprinkling (optional) I left it out

Make your dough: Whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water and let stand until foamy, a few minutes.

With a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixture, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk. Switch to dough hook and add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt. Use dough hook on a moderate speed until it pulls all of the flour and wet ingredients together into a craggy mass. Lower the speed and let the dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth, elastic and a little sticky.

By hand:: In a large bowl, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk. Add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until you get a craggy mass of uneven dough. Turn dough out onto a floured counter and knead it into a smooth, elastic dough, about 5 to 8 minutes. Try to use as little flour as necessary when kneading the dough; you don’t want to toughen the bread. A bench scraper can make it really easy to remove it from the counter if it gets stuck in a spot.

Both methods: Transfer dough to large oil-coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

Insert Peach preserves: After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide and totally imperfect rectangle (really, the shape doesn’t matter). Spread half the peach filling evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), a divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and peach filling.

Weave your bread: [See photos in post.] Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll and stretch each one as carefully as you can into a rope — don’t worry about getting it too long or thin, just 12 inches or so should do. If any apple chunks fall out as you form the ropes or at any other time in the forming of the loaf or risings, just poke them back in with your finger.
Arrange two strands in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a plus sign. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet. So, now you’ve got an 8-legged woven-headed octopus. Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move them over the leg to their right, i.e. jumping it. Take those legs that were on the right and again, jump each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you had extra length to your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. For me, this was enough. Just as you had with the folded packet of apple dough above, tuck the corners/odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.
Transfer the dough to a parchment-covered heavy baking sheet or baker’s peel (if you’ll be using a bread stone). Beat egg until smooth and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake your loaf: Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you’re using it. Bake in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed; if yours (like mine, except I didn’t catch it in time) starts getting too dark too quickly, cover it with foil for the remainder of the baking time. The very best way to check for doneness in any bread but especially on like this where the wetness of the apples can slow down the baking time a bit, is with an instant read thermometer — the center of the loaf should be 195 degrees.
Cool loaf on a rack before serving. Or, well, good luck with that. 

Peach Challah Bread, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cup (125 grams) graham cracker crumbs (can use crushed digestive biscuits)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
5 - 6 tablespoons (70 - 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
One 14 - ounce (390 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) key lime juice (can use regular limes)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest (outer skin)
1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat content)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar

Key Lime Pie: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter or lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) pie or tart pan.

Graham Cracker Crust: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool while you make the filling

Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Gradually add the condensed milk and beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the lime juice and zest.

Pour the filling over the crust and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once it has completely cooled, cover and refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Once the filling has chilled, in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Either pipe (I used a Wilton 1M star tip) or place mounds of whipping cream on top of the filling. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
Makes 1 - 9 inch (23 cm) pie or tart.

Cherry Cream Pie

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

I bought a ton of canned sour cherries and decided to make this pie for my mom for mother's day.  I made the cherry pie filling the night before and it was a little runny the next day.  I'll try adding 1tbsp of corn starch next time to thicken it up.

Cherry Cream Pie

Brown crust at 350 for 10 minutes

Boiled mixture do this first to let it cool!

 ½ cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
Mix and bring to a boil, until it gets clear
Let cool on the counter


3 egg whites, beat until stiff with beater
When stiff add
¼ cup sugar, beat until stiff again
Add boiled mixture and beat until stiff again

3 egg yolks
⅓ to ½ cup sugar
4 rounded tbsp cornstarch
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla (or 1 bean)

Beat 3 egg yolks, add 1/3 – ½ cup sugar.  Dissolve 4 rounded Tbsp of cornstarch in 3 cups milk.  If using vanilla bean, scrape seeds into the milk mixture and let the bean pod cook in the mixture.  Remove pod when finished.  Cook over high heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.  (if not using a bean add 1 tsp vanilla after you take it off the heat)

Pour pudding into the browned crust, top with cherry pie filling, pour meringue on top (leaving the middle open so you can see the cherries) and brown the meringue in the oven at 350 until the meringue looks done.

Cherry Filling (you can use 1 can of canned pie filling, but it’s not as good)

2 can sour cherries
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar

Drain the juice off the cherries (reserve juice). Add cornstarch to the some of the juice to dissolve it. Cook juice, sugar and corn starch until it thickens.  Add cherries after the juice thickens.

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

vanilla pudding, look at all the vanilla caviar!

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Cherry Cream Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strawberry Jello Cake

Strawberry Jello Cake
make 2 dozen cupcakes

1pkg white cake mix
3oz strawberry jello (wild if you can find it)

Put 3 ½ tbsp of jello powder in the cake mix and follow the directions on the box

Strawberry Frosting,186,158172-247194,00.html

1 sticks butter
3 cups confectioners sugar (about 1 lb)
1/2 box of 10 oz frozen strawberries, thawed and chopped in food processor
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat 1 stick butter until smooth. Add 1 pound confectioners sugar and half of strawberries. Beat until smooth and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. If frosting is too thick, thin with a little milk or cream.

Caramel for turtle bites

Turtle Bites, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.


1 Cup Cream
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
(2 cups pecans chopped) if making turtles
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Prepare pan by buttering large pan and covering with chopped pecans.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir until smooth and blended, about 10 minutes.

Stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 238° (soft-ball stage), about 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat; Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan).

Melt 12 oz chocolate chips in microwave. Heat for 1 minute, stir and then heat for 10 seconds at a time until completely melted.

Cool. Cut into 1-in. squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper.

Yield: about 2-1/2 pounds.

Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Curd Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake
adapted from :

1-2-3-4 Cake
This cake gets its name from its proportion of ingredients: 1 cup butter and milk, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs, and from cupcakes to layers cakes, as a basic, white cake, it does not fail. Yield: 3 9-inch layers (for the purpose of this cake) or 24 cupcakes (good to know, eh?)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (at room temperature)
3 cups sifted self-rising flour (sift before AND after measuring. Use a spoon to scoop flour into measuring cup)
1 cup milk (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F (original recipe was 350). Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (start checking at 15 minutes if you are making cupcakes).

Lemon Curd
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
From the Joy of Cooking: This makes a sensation filling for sponge rolls or an Angel Food Cake. You can also marble it into a cheesecake.
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 lemons, zest grated and juiced
Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken. This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week.

Cream Cheese Lemon Frosting (from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
6 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup butter softened
4 1/2-3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest

Beat cream cheese, lemon juice, and butter until light and fluffy, gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar. Add remaining between 2 1/2 and 2 3/4 cups of powdered sugar and beat until spreading consistency. Add lemon zest and mix.

You can either hollow the cupcake and fill with cooled lemon curd, or poke holes in the top of the cupcake with a toothpick and let the curd soak into the cupcake before frosting it.

Optional, but delicious: press sweetened coconut flakes into the frosting.

Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

*HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake* *Ingredients:*

- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in
large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2
minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into
prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out
clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating
to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir
in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Sour Cherry Pie with Star and flower cut-out pattern

This is basically the pie that my grandmother would make.  I decided to put a pennsylvania dutch hex symbol on top and it worked out pretty well!

Cherry Pie Recipe

2 pie crusts (I use store bought crusts and roll them super thin)

2 cans sour cherries (for 1 small pie)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 cup sugar

Drain the juice off the cherries (reserve the juice!! )

Add cornstarch to a little bit of the juice to dissolve it. Add Sugar and cornstarch mixture to the juice and cook on medium high until it thickens. Add cherries after the juice starts to thicken.

Pour cherries and juice into pie crust and top with 2nd pie crust.

bake at 375 for an hour

King Cake

I've always wanted to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras, but never got around to it.  This year, I had a party to go to and decided to make it!  I love the Publix King Cakes, this is similar with a very moist coffee cake sort of taste and texture.

King Cake

Dough. This is a Bread machine recipe (I used the recipe for cinnamon rolls and added ½ tsp cinnamon and substituted butter for oil)

1 egg at room temperature, plus enough warm water to equal 3/4 cup
3 Tbsp Oil (I substituted 3 Tbsp melted butter)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp active dry yeast


1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water

Follow the bread machine instructions for making dough.
To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough out into large rectangle (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 15- 30 minutes until golden brown. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the frosting..

If you don’t have a bread machine, I’d use this recipe:

King Cake, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Funfetti Cupcakes

Funfetti Cupcakes
I was looking for a homemade version of the classic funfetti cupcake.  This recipe is perfect, fluffy, and has an almost caramelized crust on the top.   The only change I made to the cupcake recipe was to substitute 1/2 of the cake flour with all purpose flour.  I've had a problem with some cake recipes that use cake flour spreading too much when made as a cupcake.
Funfetti Cake from Scratch
makes two 9-inch round cakes and serves at least 8 people, Or makes about 28 cupcakes
4 egg whites from large eggs
1 cup milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour (1 1/2 cups cake flour and 1 1/2 cups all purpose if you are making cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
8 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
2/3 cup multi-colored jimmies (original called for 1/3)
Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans. (Or, for a four-layer cake, grease four cake pans.) In a small bowl mix the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 30 seconds or until well-combined. Add the butter and shortening and mix for another 30 seconds, or until well-combined with the flour mixture. Pour in the remaining 3/4 cup milk and continue mixing on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Gradually pour in the egg white mixture, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix for one more minute. Gently fold in the multi-colored jimmies.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (see this tip on the best way to divide batter between cake pans). If baking four layers, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden and spring back when pressed. If baking two layers, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the pans on baking racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the pans over onto the rack. Flip the cake layers over and let them cool completely before icing.
This is my favorite butter cream frosting.  The 1/2 and 1/2 mix of crisco and butter makes it extra light and delicious.
Buttercream Icing
    1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
    1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
    4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
    2 tablespoons milk
Makes: About 3 cups of icing, enough for 2 dozen cupcakes
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using               
For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk. (do not use lactaid milk, it's too sweet)
sprinkles, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.
Funfetti Cupcakes, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.
Funfetti Cupcakes, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.
Funfetti Cupcakes, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In a large bowl, microwave 11 oz butterscotch chips and 1/4 c. chunky peanut butter until melted (30 seconds, stir, then 10 second intervals until melted).
Stir in 11 oz Chinese noodles and 11 oz mini chocolate chips. (Adding the mini chips last will give the twigs a mottled bark.) 
Keep paper towels handy, this next part is really messy: grease hands liberally and form nests onto waxed paper or parchment paper. 
Add yogurt-covered raisins “eggs” while nest is still sticky. Allow nests to harden.

Sweet, salty, crunchy, adorable, and fun to make. So much packed into such a simple, no-bake cookie!