Friday, December 31, 2010



I’ve always been a fan of snickerdoodles. I don’t know why. I guess it’s the cinnamon sugar coating that does it for me. All this time I’ve had this blog, I’ve never made these, although I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while already. These came out really nice. They had a light and airy consistency to them. The center was nice and chewy, and the cinnamon sugar was just the right touch.

I made these as part of our holiday cookies for coworkers. These were a big hit with my coworkers as well. I was surprised as to how many people said their favorite were snickerdoodles.

I didn’t change a thing with the recipe itself. Why mess with such a high rating recipe right? I did grease the cookie sheets though, even though the instructions said ungreased. I did get slightly less using my cookie scoop, 45 cookies vs. the 48 the original recipe stated.

I also don’t recommend subbing the shortening for butter, as it might flatten the cookies. I think the shortening plays an important part in the crackling of the cookies, as I’ve mentioned here. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can sub 2 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice for each tsp of cream of tartar (in this case, you would use 4 tsp). Also, watch the cookies closely, as they easily burn.

*Of course I can’t read and I now noticed that I used equal parts cinnamon and sugar for dipping (2 TBSP each!). I thought the cinnamon sugar coating looked dark, and there was just enough to coat all the cookies too. I don’t think this is a big issue, but I will try to use the correct ratio next time though.

Last post of 2010! See you next year! I hope next year, I’ll have more time to cook and post.


 printable recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400° F (200 degrees C).

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out round balls and dip into the cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Store at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

oreo cheesecake bars

Oreos and cheesecake. What could be more decadent? I decided to make these brownie bars for our Christmas dessert. It was sort of similar to the pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars that I liked so much, so I figured, why not with chocolate and Oreos! These were definitely dense and oh so decadent.

I wasn’t sure what dark cocoa powder was, so I assumed it was dutch process cocoa. I reduced this by 1/4 cup, since I thought 1/2 cup was a bit much. I’ve had recipes that call for 1 TBSP and it still comes out very chocolaty. I also reduced it because Jen mentioned the batter seemed thick. I was thinking to myself as I was pouring, OK, I guess the batter doesn’t seem so thick, since I reduced the amount of cocoa powder. That’s when it dawned on me that the Oreos weren’t in there!! The bag of chopped Oreos I had ready for the batter was still sitting there on the counter, staring me in the face! I ended pouring it over the mixture and mixing it in as best as I can. That’s why mine isn’t nicely layered like the source recipe.

Despite the mishaps, it still came together very nicely. Definitely worth trying again, as long as I remember to add the Oreos!

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
adapted from: Beantown Baker

 printable recipe

1 cup flour
1/4 cup dutch process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies (about one row from a package)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8x8 baking pan. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk until combined and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Whisk in sugar and bring to a boil, whisking frequently; boil for 1 minute. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract, until well combined, about 1 minute.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, until combined. Whisk in melted butter-sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, followed by Oreo cookies.

Spread half of brownie batter into baking dish, followed by cream cheese layer; dot the top with remaining brownie batter, and spread evenly, as best as you can. Run a knife through batter to make "swirls".

Bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out semi clean (there will be residue from the melted cookies).

Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before slicing. For easier slicing, try freezing the brownies for 30-60 minutes.

Makes about 16 squares (more or less depending on how big you want to cut them)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Cookies


Another recipe my sister brought over was for a chocolate cherry cookie. It was  a nice concept, but I’m not too fond of cherries in recipes. I do eat cherries by itself. I also didn’t want to buy dried cherries to use in just one recipe. I suggested using cranberries instead, since I can at least use those in a recipe later on, or as my niece did (while we were baking away) eat it out of the bag.

These came out very nice. The cookie had a slight crisp edge with a chewy center. I think many of my cookies were coming out too crispy that day because my oven was running hot. There was a lot going on, so a few things got over baked…not like the recipients cared too much of course! Also, I usually don’t use spoon the flour into a cup to measure. I scooped out a cup of flour and started pouring it into a bowl on a scale. A packed cup of four was about 1-2 TBSP more than a spooned cup.

I noticed the recipe didn’t call for too much sugar to begin with. In the end I noticed it was a Cooking Light recipe. That’s perfect for those who don’t want to over indulge or feel guilty for eating too many treats during the holidays!

Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
adapted from: Cooking Light, via

 printable recipe

1  cup  all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1  cup  sugar
1/3  cup  butter, softened
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1  large egg
2/3  cup  dried cranberries
3  tablespoons  semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup (or weigh on a scale); level with a knife.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat well. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture. Beat just until combined. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or just until set. Remove from oven; cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peanut Brittle


After making the peanut butter chip brittle last month, my family suggested making a regular peanut brittle. I found Martha Stewart’s recipe and decided to use this because it looked so easy.

I’ve always been a fan of sweet and salty things, so this was right up my alley. My sister didn’t like how the original recipe called for whole peanuts. She didn’t want to bite into whole pieces as the original recipe showed, so she chopped them up. I think it actually made it taste better that way if that’s even possible.

While I was working with the sugar in the pan, the liquid didn’t really turn golden to me. It was bubbling a lot, but pretty much remained clearish throughout the whole time, until the last minute. First it was bubbly and boiling. Then after about 7 or 8 minutes, it looked like all the water evaporated and it became dry, grainy sugar again. I thought it was weird, but I kept on whisking away, and it eventually melted again and became amber colored.

The brittle didn’t fill the entire pan as it did last time, but after it was broken up, it was still a good amount of brittle.

In the end, I also had a little bit of dried sugar stuck to my pot. If running it under hot water doesn’t get it off, I recommend boiling a pot of water to loosen it up. It came right off for me that way!

Peanut Brittle
adapted from: Martha Stewart

 printable recipe

Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet (use margarine or spray for dairy free)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, chopped (7 ounces)
Vegetable oil, for spatula

Butter a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Measure out  1 1/2 cups peanuts and coarsely chop, set aside.

Stir together sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until sugar begins to melt and turn golden, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted and mixture turns golden amber, about 10 minutes. Keep stirring, and it will continue to melt the sugar. It will turn into sugar lumps before it liquefies into an amber color.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in peanuts. Immediately pour peanut mixture onto buttered baking sheet. Quickly spread mixture to 1/2 inch thick using an oiled metal spatula. Let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Break brittle into pieces. Brittle can be stored in an airtight container, up to 2 weeks.

Makes about a half sheet pan of brittle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Swirled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Although it’s now officially winter, I’ve still had pumpkin and the fall spices on my mind. When my sister came over to make treats for coworkers for the holidays, she came armed with this recipe in mind. She must have read my mind! I still had one lone can of pumpkin in my pantry from stocking up last year. I wonder if I should stock up for next year now! :)

This recipe turned out very well. The ratio of spices gave it a nice kick. The bottom was a nice layer of pumpkin spice cake with a layer of cream cheese on top. I guess it’s a cheesecake bar, since the ingredients for the cream cheese layer is everything I would add in a cheesecake.

I’ve made adjustments to the original recipe since the original recipe wouldn’t be clear for beginners. We both read the recipe over many times and we almost made mistakes since it didn’t really call to divide anything in the ingredients list. I’ve separated the ingredients for the pumpkin cake part and the cream cheese mixture below. In the end, I also cut it into 48 pieces instead of the original 24. Since we were sharing other treats as well, a little taste was all you need of this. I think the smaller size is what most people can eat anyway. These fared very well when I brought them to work.

Swirled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars
adapted from: Sunset via

 printable recipe

1 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
1  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
6  tablespoons  butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2  cups  sugar
2 large eggs
1  cup  pure pumpkin puree
1/3 cup water

cream cheese mixture:
1  package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg.

In an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs, pumpkin, and 1/3 cup water until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Stir or beat the dry ingredients into butter mixture until well blended. Spread batter evenly in a buttered and floured 10- by 15-inch baking pan.

Beat  cream cheese, egg, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed until smooth.

Drop tablespoon dollops of cream cheese mixture evenly spaced over the batter. Pull a knife tip through filling to swirl slightly into batter.

Bake in a oven until center of pumpkin batter (not cream cheese mixture) springs back when touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, then cut into 24 bars. (I actually cut it into 48 and they were still good sized for me)

Store in fridge for up to 3 days.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

vegan pumpkin ice cream

In an effort to use up a can of pumpkin, I decided to make this pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies. It was also requested by Gary during Thanksgiving. Usually I would suggest an ice cream flavor to Gary, and he wouldn’t be interested. I suggested pumpkin flavor, and I was surprised that he actually was ok with the suggestion!

The batter smelled great as I was mixing it. I used all coconut milk in it, but the original recipe called for soy creamer and non dairy milk. Since I’m able to find coconut milk in 8 oz packages at my local Chinese supermarket, I did it this way. I’m so glad I found this too! I hated opening large cans of coconut milk only to use half, and not having a recipe to use the other half. If I didn’t have this, I would use one cup of soy milk instead.

After leaving it in the fridge overnight, the batter was very thick, just like a baked pumpkin pie. I used the spatula to scrape the mixture into the ice cream maker. I’m not sure how thick it would have been if I only left it in the fridge for 3 hours. It seemed to get stuck on the ice cream paddle in the end, so keep a close eye on it after a little while.

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream
adapted from: The Vegan Scoop

 printable recipe

1 (14-15 oz) can plus 1 cup coconut milk (about 2 3/4 cups total), divided
2 TBSP arrowroot powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 TBSP vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup milk with the arrowroot. Set aside.

Mix the remaining milk, brown sugar, pumpkin, and spices in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in arrowroot slurry. Stir in vanilla extract.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled. Freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about 1 quart.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cathy’s Kitchen Journey is now on Facebook!

Hi there, blog readers!

There’s no recipe within this post, but I wanted to share my new facebook page with you. It’s just started out, but I hope to add more content in the near future.

If you like, you can “Like” my page. Just click on the button on the right hand side on the homepage of this blog, or you can go directly to the page and follow me there :)

As always, if you ever needed to ask me a question about anything, feel free to ask me via email, facebook, or twitter! All the info is also located in the Contact Me tab at the top of the page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Happy Birthday, Sis! redvelvetcheesescake2

A few months ago, I asked my sister what birthday cake she wanted. She told me mango cheesecake. One, I hate mangoes; two, are mangoes even in season in the middle of December? Well, she said didn’t really have a preference, as long as it was cheesecake. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago, but I never got around to making it (like the other recipes I have flagged and bookmarked). It wasn’t until Annie had a recap post of holiday treats that I decided to make this once and for all.

I went to the supermarket the day before to pick up the remaining ingredients for baking. While I was about to open the door to the house, I realized I forgot the chocolate graham crackers! I didn’t want to go back to the store, so I thought about using the honey grahams I had in the pantry. In the end, I ended up running an errand near the supermarket so I went to pick up some crackers. They were not on sale…and it was too expensive at regular price…especially since I was only using 1/3 of a box. I bought a package of chocolate sandwich cookies since they were on sale. I remember Annie used chocolate sandwich cookies for the crust, and I also did that for the chocolate marble cheesecake I made a while, back so I knew it would work.

After mixing everything, I noticed that the batter for this cheesecake was a little bit runny. It could have been because I was not paying attention to the amount of buttermilk that was supposed to be added. I ended up adding 1 full cup of buttermilk so I tried to add 2 tablespoons of flour to try to thicken it up. There seemed to be a lot of batter, and when it was done baking, the cake rose up past the rim (but didn’t spill). Once it cooled down, it sunk back down.

After baking, I had to run, so I left it in the oven for a few hours to cool down, with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open. It still cracked (as in Grand Canyon crack!), as did my last cheesecake. Good thing there was frosting going over it!! I’m wondering if it was because I used my 10-inch pan for this again, since the 9-inch one I ordered didn’t arrive in time. Nonetheless, this still came out great, even though I made some mistakes. If I make this again, I’m definitely going to pay attention!

Red Velvet Cheesecake
adapted from: Southern Living, via Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

 printable recipe

18 chocolate sandwich cookies, crumbled
3 TBSP  butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2  cups  granulated sugar
4  large eggs, lightly beaten
3  tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa
1  cup  sour cream
1/2  cup  whole buttermilk
2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
1  teaspoon  distilled white vinegar
2  (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4  cup  butter, softened
1  cup  powdered sugar
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Stir together cookie crumbs and melted butter, press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

Beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Beat remaining 4 oz cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of spring form pan. Garnish, if desired.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

vanilla cake lemon curd

I hate it when a recipe calls for only egg yolks (or whites) because I end up stuck with finding another use for the rest of the egg. Many times, end up throwing it away. I was going to bake a cake for Gary’s parents’ birthday, and I started off looking for a filling. The lemon curd was what I went with, but now I had to find something to use up the 5 egg whites. I then saw that Martha’s vanilla bean cupcake recipe calls for 5 egg whites exactly. Perfect!

The cake came together very well. It wasn’t too sweet, just like his parents like it. The cake was light and almost angel food cake-like. Since this made a tall layer cake, I probably add another filling between the layers (I heard raspberry is nice with lemon curd), or half the cake recipe.

I used the same frosting I used for the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake for this, and it worked very well.

Vanilla Bean Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
cake adapted from: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
lemon curd filling from: Williams Sonoma
frosting as see in previous recipe

 printable recipe


cake: lemon curd: frosting
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour 5 egg yolks 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 TBSP baking powder 1/2 cup sugar 4 tsp cold water
1/4 tsp salt 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract Grated zest of 2 lemons 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup plus 2 TBSP milk 6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp    
1 3/4 cups sugar    
5 large egg whites at room temp    

prepare lemon curd:
In a heavy saucepan before turning on the heat, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk vigorously for 1 minute.

Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk for 1 minute more. Set the pan over low heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Cover tightly and refrigerate before using. Makes about 1 cup.

bake the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour or spray two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir vanilla into milk.

Cream butter in your mixer with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture to batter, alternating with the milk, and betting until just combined after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Gently fold in remaining whites in 2 batches.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out cleanly when inserted in the center. Allow to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

make the frosting:
Place mixing bowl in the fridge to cool down.

Put the cold water in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes (do not stir).  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

In a cold mixing bowl and using a the wire whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until slightly thickened.  Reduce speed of mixer and gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture.  Then whip the mixture at high speed until stiff.

assemble the cake:
Place one layer on a cake board. Place some frosting in a piping bag or freezer bag. Pipe a line of frosting along the edge of the cake layer.

Pour lemon curd in the center and spread into an even layer. Place other cake layer on top.

Frost cake with remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Store in fridge until serving.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

 pumpkin pie spice2

A long while back, I bought a small jar of pumpkin pie spice. My only intention was to use it for pumpkin pie, which I would probably do only once at most twice a year. I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but it must’ve been on sale or something, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it. Since then, I’ve found recipes that don’t even call for pumpkin pie spice, just a mixture of spices that are pretty much the same as the spice blend.

I actually never got around to using the little jar and ended up throwing away the contents. I did keep the  jar it came with, as well as wrote the ingredients down on the cap so I never forget, although it’s pretty easy. I’m pretty sure I would forget how to make it again next year when the season rolls around once again.

The first time I made it, I ran out of cinnamon so I only had enough to make half. This recipe is easily halved, doubled, tripled, or whatever. Although I don’t think you would ever need that much at one time.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
source: Simple Mom

 printable recipe

2 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a bag or jar. Shake to combine evenly.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Chip Brittle

peanut butter chip brittle2

It’s that time of year again when I’m searching for treats to make and bring to work to share. Although I made this peanut butter chip brittle for Thanksgiving, I think it’s a great addition to your cookie or candy gifts this year.

I came upon this recipe because I had purchased 2 bags of peanut butter chips on a whim. I needed to use them up, so this was one of the recipes that caught my eye. It was fairly simple to make, although I may have gotten a little whisk burn on my hand from standing over the stove so long.

This came out beautifully, and it didn’t call for a lot of ingredients. Although some thought this was a bit sweet, well candy is sweet! It reminded my family of the filling in Almond Rocas, one of our favorite candies growing up. I brought a tin to work once, but I was surprised many people didn’t know what it was.


The recipe indicated that I would be stirring for about 30-35 minutes. The gauge on the thermometer seemed to rise pretty fast…until it hit 220°. After that, the temperature seemed to slow to a crawl, but it eventually got there. At 260° the mixture started to look like sweetened condensed milk. At about 280°, it started to look like dulce de leche. It was a nice and brown, and bubbly when it finally hit 300°!

Since my family liked it so much, I’m planning on making a batch of peanut brittle over the holidays.


Peanut Butter Chip Brittle
source: Hershey’s

 printable recipe

1 2/3 cups (10-oz. package) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips, divided
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water

Butter 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch (preferably nonstick) jelly roll pan. Sprinkle 1 cup peanut butter chips evenly onto bottom of prepared pan; set aside.

Melt butter in heavy 2-1/2-quart saucepan; stir in sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 300°F. on candy thermometer until thick, brown and bubbly, can range from 30-50 minutes. (Bulb of thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

Remove from heat. Immediately pour mixture evenly into prepared pan; sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup peanut butter chips. Cool completely. Remove from pan. Break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container in cool, dry place.

Makes about 2 pounds brittle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Korean Style Fried Chicken Wings

fried chicken wings 2

I love fried chicken. That and french fries (or any fried food for that matter) are my weaknesses. I’ve never really fried foods at home because I thought it was  bit tedious to use so much oil to only fry a few things. I saw this recipe and decided to make this for Gary’s family during his parents’ birthday. This was a good opportunity to use the fryer I received as a gift, but never used (although used by others before).

I saw this recipe pop up in Joelen’s blog and knew it was something I had to try. Instead of mixing the sauce with the wings, I had it on the side as a dipping sauce. I wasn’t sure how spicy the sauce would be and little kids were eating it. Surprisingly, it wasn’t spicy at all, and had a pleasant sweet flavor.

I forgot to add scallions in the sauce, but I’m sure it would have added a nice touch. I also added a little bit more garlic and onion powder, since I didn’t think a tsp was quite enough. I did eyeball it so it’s approximate.

Fried Chicken Wings with Korean Dipping Sauce
adapted from: Joelen’s Culinary Adventures originally from Cook’s Illustrated

  printable recipe

2-3 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups cornstarch, divided
3 1/2 pounds bone in chicken wings
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup water
2 scallions sliced thin on a bias

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with wire racks; set aside.

Measure 2 inches of oil into a large Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat over medium high heat to 350 degrees.

Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels and place the chicken in a large bowl. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sift 1/2 cup of the cornstarch into bowl. Toss the chicken with tongs to coat thoroughly. Transfer the chicken to the one baking sheet.

Whisk the remaining cup of cornstarch, water, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl to form a smooth batter. When the oil is hot, finish coating the chicken by adding half of the chicken to the batter and turning to coat. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the batter, 1 piece at a time, allowing any excess batter to drip back back into the bowl. Add to the hot oil.

Fry the chicken, stirring to prevent the pieces from sticking together and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain an oil temperature of 350 degrees, until the chicken begins to crisp, turns slightly golden. Continue cooking until the chicken turns a darker shade of golden brown to fully cook. Repeat with the remaining half of chicken by battering and frying.

Once fully cooked, transfer all the chicken to a large bowl, drizzle with the sauce and gently toss until evenly coated or serve with the sauce on the side. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions and serve.

to make the sauce:
Combine all the above ingredients together in a small sauce pan over medium heat until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before service. Alternately you can prepare this in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and set aside to thicken.

fried chicken wings

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nutella Ice Cream

nutella ice cream

This ice cream came about because I had a few ingredients I needed to use up.  I initially searched for nutella recipes, and this one came up. It was also about the end of the summer season, so I wanted another reason to make ice cream…even though I’ll probably be making ice cream well through the winter.

Most of the ice creams I’ve made have not required the use of just egg yolks, or even eggs for that matter. This was so simple and easy, and I had ice cream to eat within the hour. Of course, if you want firmer ice cream, refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Make this, you won’t regret it!

Nutella Ice Cream
adapted from:

printable recipe

2 cups half-and-half (chilled)
1 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces nutella (about 1 cup)

In a large bowl, combine ingredients and mix using a wire whisk until well combined. There will still be small flecks of nutella that does not dissolve.

Pour mixture into ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. For a firmer consistency, place in freezer for a few hours before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 quart

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cornflakes

chocolate covered cornflakes
Cornflakes, they’re not just for breakfast anymore!

Steps from where I work, there’s a store called Jacques Torres. They sell all kinds of confectionaries and chocolates. Their kitchen faces the street, and you can stand there and marvel at what they’re making. When you walk in, all things chocolate exists…(although I went in once with Erin, and they didn’t know what dutch process cocoa was. They tried to sell me hot cocoa mix instead).

One of the delectable treats they make and sell are these chocolate covered cornflakes. These little crunchy flakes are amongst one of the favorite picks from the folks in the office.

I don’t recall how the conversation started, but my coworker or I said something about it. I told her I could make that…whenever I get around to it…! I then searched for the recipe, although I could have easily winged it. Surprisingly, Jacques actually had how to videos and recipes online in various locations. The video made it seem so simple, so I told everybody I was making it that weekend.

Before I looked at the recipe, I had the idea to use the dark chocolate I had on hand, our favorite baking and eating dark chocolate from Trader Joes: the pound plus. Although the recipe used bittersweet, I went with my gut and used the dark chocolate. When I poured out the corn flakes, they seemed really large. I almost went ahead with crushing the flakes slightly, but stopped myself. I’m glad I went with my gut in both instances, because people thought I could give Jacques a run for his money! The dark chocolate went well with the larger crunchy flakes.

chocolate covered cornflakes 2

Chocolate Covered Cornflakes
inspired by: Jacques Torres

 printable recipe

1 lb  dark chocolate
4 cups corn flakes

Chop up chocolate into small even pieces. Place in a large dry glass or metal bowl.

In a medium pot, bring about an inch of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low to simmer. Place bowl over the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

Continue to stir the chocolate until melted. Remove from heat. Set aside to allow to cool slightly.

Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper, or silicone mats.

Pour corn flakes into the bowl of melted chocolate. Using a spatula, fold in the cornflakes and mix well to evenly coat. It’s ok if the flakes break slightly.

Using a tablespoon, scoop about half a spoon (or more if you want them bigger). Using another tablespoon, transfer the mound from the spoon to the parchment.

Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and let set for 10-15 minutes.

Store at room temperature ok, but if your house is on the warm side, I suggest storing in a covered container in the fridge.

Makes a few dozen, depending on how big you make them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Happy birthday mom!

japanese strawberry shortcake

Over the weekend, we went over to my parents’ place for my mom’s birthday. I provided the cake. My family isn’t too fond of sweets. They love the cakes from the Chinese bakeries. Basically they’re sponge cakes with a mixed fruit filling. I haven’t tried making those types of cakes before, but when I saw this recipe, it looked like it would be something similar.

This recipe doesn’t call for too much sugar in the cake or frosting, which my family prefers. My mom requested a fruit filling cake, so I decided on this Japanese strawberry shortcake.

I love the way this turned out. The technique is a little different from what I’m used to (i.e. super easy). The cake was light and airy, and had a distinct egg taste. I followed the original directions almost exactly, but omitted brushing the simple syrup on the cake, since I though it would be a bit much for my family. I think it tasted great without it. I also made 2 layers of filling, but that was only because I had extra strawberries. I didn’t have quite enough frosting for the top and sides after doing that, so next time I will make a double batch of frosting if making 2 layers of filling. I baked it for less time than the recipe called for, 22 minutes, so I’ve adjusted the cook time accordingly.


Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
adapted from: La Fuji Mama

 printable recipe

4 large eggs, white and yolks separated
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 9.5 tablespoons) granulated sugar, sifted once
3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 14 tablespoons) cake flour, sifted 3 times
1.2 ounces (22 grams, 2.3 tablespoons) butter, melted

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 container strawberries (1 lb)

Allow eggs and milk to come to room temperature. Melt butter and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (170° to 180° C).  Grease and flour an 8-inch circular cake pan, set aside.

Using the wire whisk attachment to your mixer, gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.

Add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, and gently whisk until the yolks are incorporated.

Add the milk, vanilla extract, and gradually add flour (in that order) to the batter and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula.  Fold in the melted butter until it is well combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and get rid of any air bubbles in the batter by dropping the pan on a counter once or twice.  Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes (originally 25-30 mins, mine was done at 22).  The cake is done when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly.  Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Run a blade around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and remove.

To make the Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:

Place mixing bowl in the fridge to cool down.

Put the cold water in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes (do not stir).  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

In a cold mixing bowl and using a the wire whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until slightly thickened.  Reduce speed of mixer and gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture.  Then whip the mixture at high speed until stiff.

To assemble the cake:

Reserve 7 to 1o  similar sized strawberries for decorating the cake.  Slice the remaining strawberries into thin slices.

Slice the sponge cake horizontally into 2 layers.

Place one sponge layer cut-side up on a cake board or serving plate.

Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake layer and arrange the strawberry slices over the surface. Spread an additional layer of whipped cream over the strawberries.

Place the other cake layer over the frosting.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Decorate as desired and garnish with the reserved strawberries. I cut 7 strawberries in half and arranged them on the edge of the cake. Sliced the remaining 3 and fanned them out in the center of the cake.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve had a go to chocolate chip cookie recipe for a little while now, and I usually stick with it. I’ve tried other recipes before, but always go back to this one.

I was all set to use that recipe for a work function, but on the day I was supposed to make the batter, I saw this recipe pop up. I instantly printed it out, and made my plans to make this. My mind was set.

I brought these to work and they were a big hit. The little extra hint of salt made a huge difference. I think this will be my new go to recipe from now on.

salted butter cookies

Now, I usually don’t go crazy over a recipe before I even try it out. I’ve had recipes I’ve been meaning to make, forever. I knew this recipe was going to be a hit before I even tried it out. The sweet and salty combo never fails, and I think David Lebovitz knows what he’s doing. I trust his judgment.

I did adapt the recipe slightly based on what I needed. All I needed was a batch of chocolate chip cookies, so I omitted the nuts. I used an even 2 cups of chocolate chips instead of the mix of chopped chocolate and toasted nuts the original recipe called for. I also was able to make more cookies using my cookie scoop to evenly measure out my batter vs. the 24 the original recipe mentioned.

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from: David Lebovitz

print printable recipe

4 ounces (115g) salted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed (110g) dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup (180g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt
2 cups chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar just until smooth and creamy.

Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Stir the flour mixture into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Cover and chill the batter until firm. (It’s preferable to let it rest overnight.)

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Using a medium cookie scoop (or form the dough by hand) form cookie dough into rounds about the size of a large unshelled walnut. Place the mounds evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed and the dough is even.

Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies look about set, but are not browned.

Remove from the oven and quickly tap the top of each with a spatula, then return to the oven for 2-5 more minutes, until the tops of the cookies are light golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cookies cool.

Storage: The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to five days in an airtight container. The dough can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for one or two months.

Makes about 32 cookies using the cookie scoop.

salted butter cookies 2

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monkey Bread

monkey bread

Gary and I went window shopping this past Saturday. We were at one of our local malls, and while walking by one of the stores, I smelled some awesomely cinnamony sugary goodness. We’ve all experienced this before, the way Cinnabon pulls you in with their scent. It’s practically irresistible…until you see the calorie count. 1000+ calories for one!! Lucky for me, that’s an incentive for me to not order whatever I’m craving.

The craving went away after a while. It wasn’t until the next day. We were watching TV and a commercial for something cinnamon sugar came on. It was the final straw! I needed to make something cinnamon, stat! I had had this King Arthur recipe bookmarked for a while, so this was a good opportunity to make it.

monkey bread 2

I followed the directions exactly with the exception of using an 8” pan. I used my 9” pan and it fit perfectly. I also measured the water by weight instead of volume as indicated below.

Monkey Bread
adapted from: King Arthur Flour with a tutorial from their blog

printable recipe

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup lukewarm water (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups All-Purpose Flour (8.5 ounces)

1) Make the topping: Blend the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, or shake them together in a small lidded container. Set aside.

2) Place water, vegetable oil, egg, salt, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl and stir well.

3) Add 1 cup of the flour, stirring to blend.

4) Add the second cup of flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes; this gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead.

5) Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — till it's soft and smooth.

6) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and let the dough rise for 30 to 60 minutes, till it's doubled in size.

7) Gently deflate the dough, and place it on a clean, lightly greased work surface; a silicone mat works well here (I used wax paper sprayed with oil). Divide it into pieces about 1 1/2" in diameter; you'll make 16 to 18 pieces.

8) Lightly grease an 8" round cake pan (I used a 9” pan). Dip each piece in water, then roll it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat.

9) Place the pieces in a single layer in the prepared pan. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top.

10) Cover the pan, and let the bread rise for 30 to 60 minutes, till it's visibly puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

11) Uncover the pan, and bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, till it's golden brown and feels set.

12) Remove from the oven, and immediately turn the pan over onto a plate. Lift the pan off the bread, and scrape any leftover topping in the pan onto the bread.

13) Pull the bread apart to serve. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Makes 5-7 servings

Gary thought this bread was great. Next time, I think I’ll make some sugar frosting and use it as a dipping sauce.

monkey bread 3

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Red Velvet Firework Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

One of my coworkers recently let me borrow her cupcake book, and she really wanted me to try the red velvet cake recipe. This cupcake book was the More from Magnolia dessert cookbook. I had her book for months, and didn’t get a chance to try it at all.

Then came July 4th and I asked for suggestions for dessert ideas. A few people asked for red velvet cupcakes. For our annual July 4th bbq, I made these red velvet cupcakes, topped with a firecracker design inspired by the Wilton site. I told my sister in law I would try making the design. However I think the icing that was paired with this cupcake recipe was too thin to use for piping. It was supposed to be used to mound on top of the cake.


Now, I’m not too fond of the commercial cupcake places. Usually their cakes are too dense and the frosting too sweet. My theories were confirmed when I bit into the cake and found it a bit dry. Granted, I did make several adaptations, but I did the same for the other red velvet cake recipe, and that came out fine.

My sister in law also made a red velvet cake using my previous recipe. Personally, I like the Cake Man Raven recipe better, adaptations and all. I also like the cream cheese frosting pairing better.

cmr red velvet

I couldn’t believe the Magnolia recipe called for 6 TBSP of red food coloring. I halved that and only used 3. I thought using basically two 1 ounce bottles of red dye would be overkill. I thought the batter was plenty red after only 3 (although you can’t really see it in the pic above, you can sorta tell in this one.)


Also, although this isn’t the greatest substitutions, again, I did this with the other recipe with no problems. I subbed buttermilk powder and water for the buttermilk, and a blend of flour/cornstarch for the cake flour.  I’m not sure if it was because I made the substitutions, but I was able to get 34 cupcakes out of this instead of 24. I saw some of the reviewers mentioning that the icing was too gritty, but I had the opposite problem, I thought it was too thin. I guess I overbeat the frosting a bit too much, but it also could have been the 100° weather we were having that caused it to melt too much.

Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Creamy Vanilla Icing
adapted from: More from Magnolia, also found on Epicurious

printable recipe

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Creamy Vanilla Frosting (I halved this)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used low fat)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners (or line one tin and allow to cool before lining again).

To make the cake:
In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

to make the frosting:
In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.

Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color.

To create the red, white and blue frosting, divide the batter in thirds, (adding more to the blue one). Dye 1/3 using a royal blue color and dye 1/3 with a red color, leave 1/3 white. I used about half a (1 oz) tub  of gel color for each of the ones that were dyed and mixed it in with a fork.

Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Use immediately.

To create the fireworks, pipe with the grass tip, pulling away from the cake each time.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Strawberry Pancakes

One early Sunday morning, I woke up with my stomach growling. I was tired, sick and hungry. I wanted to go back to sleep, but my stomach wasn’t letting me. Gary had woken up early to go to the market to get some stuff for our annual July 4th bbq. He wanted to beat the last minute crowds at every store he went to, and he did! Since he had already woken me up, I started researching some recipes and lost track of time.

When he got home at about 11am, I tried to take a mid morning nap, but by this time, I was awake and really hungry since I’ve been up for a few hours and hadn’t eaten. He wanted to make lunch, but my mind was still at breakfast mode. I suggested making strawberry pancakes since I already had strawberries in the fridge.

After making this, we started talk about making Sundays “pancake Sundays”…yea, we’ll see how that’ll fly :).

strawberry pancakes

The ingredient’s list called for orange zest, however I didn’t have any oranges on hand, so I omitted it. I also adapted the dairy ingredients to non dairy ingredients as indicated below. Also, instead of turning on the oven to keep the plate warm, I covered the plate of pancakes to keep the heat in. I recommend thinly slicing the strawberries so they get fully incorporated into the pancakes.

Strawberry Pancakes
adapted from: Good Things Catered, originally from The Joy of Cooking

printable recipe

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated orange zest (I omitted)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used soy milk with 1 TBSP vinegar)
3 Tbsp butter, melted (I used melted Earth Balance)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt, zest, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine well.

Heat griddle pan over medium low heat. Depending on how well seasoned your pan is, you will have to add some butter or nonstick spray to the heated pan.

Add wet ingredients into dry and carefully stir to combine, just until mixture comes together. Ignore lumps and do not over beat.

To hot pan, spoon 6 inch batter rounds (1/4 cup scoops of batter) onto pan. Top the pancake with strawberry slices.

When the batter bubbles, flip carefully. When pancake is cooked through, transfer to plate and cover.

Repeat until all the batter is used up.

Top pancakes with whipped cream (optional) and syrup and serve. I served these with maple syrup and turkey sausages on the side. The sweet and salty combo was pretty good.

Makes about 14 pancakes.

strawberry pancakes2

Monday, May 10, 2010

Walnut Mocha Torte

My brother’s birthday was last week. He’s just turned a quarter century! It was also my baby cousin’s birthday. He just turned one.

I volunteered to make 2 cakes for them. One of the cakes I made was this walnut mocha torte. One of the requests was a chocolate cake, but I was at a lost of what to make. A few things crossed my mind. The original request was for a black forest cake, but most of the recipes I came across used canned cherry pie filling and/or Kirschwasser. I didn’t want to buy the alcohol  just of one use, so I did some more brainstorming. I though of German Chocolate cake, but my sister told me she wasn’t too fond of it. I would have had a hell of a time finding German chocolate as well.

I decided to look through the cookbooks I had at home for ideas. For some reason, I always forget that I have a supply of cookbooks at home to reference too. I’ve been relying on food blogs and online recipes a lot lately. I guess I like to read reviews on the recipes before I try them blind.


I saw this walnut mocha torte in my Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I was surprised that it only called for a few ingredients and was so simple. Since I was making 2 cakes, one of which was an ice cream cake that had to be assembled, I thought this easy peasy torte was a great idea. I was surprised that it didn’t call for any oil and a minimal amount of flour. I was concerned of how it would taste in the end. I’m glad I made it though, because it ended up tasting really good.

Since I used 9 inch pans instead of the 8 inch the recipe calls for, my cake was a little bit thinner than pictured in the cookbook. The batter looked really thin before it was baked, but the baking powder I added allowed for adequate rising, so don’t worry if it looks like there’s nothing in the pan when you pour it in.

walnut mocha torte

Walnut Mocha Torte
adapted from: Better Homes and Garden New cookbook, also found online here

printable recipe

for the cake:
2  cups walnuts or pecans, toasted
2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2  teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
chocolate curls or shavings (for decoration, optional)

for the frosting:
1 tsp instant coffee
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans (I used 9 inch pans). Set pans aside. In a medium bowl combine nuts, flour, and baking powder; set aside.

In a blender or food processor combine eggs and sugar; cover and blend or process until smooth. Add nut mixture. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly touched (centers may dip slightly). (Since I used 9 inch pans I baked for 15 mins.) Cool cake layers on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.

to make the frosting:
In a chilled small mixing bowl dissolve instant coffee in 1 cup whipping cream; add sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed just until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Spread Mocha Frosting on each layer; stack layers. Loosely cover and chill frosted cake for 2 to 24 hours. If desired, top with chocolate curls.