Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Desserts

I used fresh pineapple instead of canned because my market had a buy one, get one promotion on cubed fresh pineapple last week. I put the pineapple in my processor and pulsed it until it was the consistency of crushed pineapple. Don’t over-process or you will have juice. The fresh pineapple worked just fine. This very moist cake is good for breakfast, as is, or you may serve it for dessert with sweetened whipped cream,

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups crushed pineapple with juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and thoroughly grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt until completely combined.

Whisk in flour until just incorporated. Slowly stir in the crushed pineapple with a spatula.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Let cake cool to room temperature. Run a thin spatula or knife about the outside of the pan and around the tube. Turn the cake over onto a serving plate.


Strawberry Tiramisu

Ingredients

30 whole  ladyfingers
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2 cups cold  heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup orange juice
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Directions

In a large mixing bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Add in the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until stiff, set aside.

Separate the ladyfingers.

Line half of the ladyfingers in a single layer, in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Brush the ladyfingers with half of the orange juice.

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and layer with half of the sliced strawberries.

Repeat the steps again.

Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Cut into 8 squares for serving.

 


Italian Cheesecake

serves: 10 to 12

Italian cheesecake is one of the easiest Italian desserts to make and is always a big hit.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup amaretto crumbs from about 5-6 cookies
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups drained whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons dark rum
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Powdered sugar and strawberries for optional topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Combine the butter and cookie crumbs together and pour into the baking pan, Press the crumbs over the bottom until firm.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt at high speed until creamy and doubled in volume for about 5 minutes.

Add ricotta, mascarpone, rum, and lemon and orange zest. Mix on medium until smooth and fluffy, about another 2 minutes.

Put springform pan on a baking sheet and pour batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until edges are set and lightly golden but the center is still a bit jiggly about 75 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about one hour. With a thin metal spatula, go around the cake in the pan to keep it from sticking to the pan as it cools. Cover the pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Cover the top with powdered sugar and strawberries cut in half.


Cherry Topped Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee
Vanilla Frosting, store-bought or recipe below
1 cup dried cherries, rehydrated, see below
Green sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Add the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl or electric mixer and combine.

In another bowl add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat together until well combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Slowly pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Continue to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is mixed well. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread the frosting over the cake. Decorate with cherries and green sprinkles.

To rehydrate the cherries:

Place the cherries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur. I used Tuaca a fine spirit with subtle notes of vanilla and citrus, Pour enough boiling water over the cherries to cover them. Let sit for 15 minutes and then drain. Dry the cherries on a paper towel.

To make the vanilla frosting:

ingredients
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.


America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Although often called simply rainbow cookies in much of the continental United States, some local names for this special cookie are:

Neopolitan cookies
Seven-layer cookies
Tricolor cookies
Venetian cookies

In southern Italy almond paste cookies are abundant, but rainbow cookies weren’t found in this region or anywhere else in Italy. Although it is reported that recently some bakeries in Italy feature the cookie during the Christmas holidays. Rainbow cookies are an Italian American invention and most likely created to honor the color of the Italian flag. While it can be pretty difficult to pinpoint the exact history or creator, Rainbow cookies were made popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s by Italian-American bakeries, particularly those found in New York City, such as De Lillo’s and Ferrara’s.

Here is a modern twist video on this  old-time treat from CBS News:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/rainbow-cookies-get-a-colorful-twist/

Rainbow cookies are also a common dessert for Jewish Americans. As Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe settled in New York at the turn of the 20th century, they often settled in areas that also had an Italian population. It was at this point that Jewish Americans were introduced to the rainbow cookie. The original rainbow cookie was made with butter and featured the Italian flag-like design in white, red and green. Jewish Americans adapted this cookie to suit their own Kosher dietary needs, substituting margarine for the butter. Jewish Americans were the first to change the original Italian flag design from a white layer to a yellow layer and the cookies are quite popular at Jewish delicatessens.

Italian American Rainbow Cookies

Ingredient

1- 8 ounce can almond paste
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
12-ounce jar apricot preserves
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dishes; line with waxed paper; spray the paper with cooking spray.
Break up the almond paste in an electric mixer bowl with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and extract and beat with the mixer until fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir into the almond mixture with a wooden spoon, using a turning motion similar to folding.
Remove 1-1/2 cups batter; spread evenly into one of the prepared pans. Remove another 1-1/2 cups batter to small bowl; tint green with coloring. Spread into the second pan. Tint remaining 1-1/2 cups batter red. Spread in the remaining pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges are lightly golden; cake layers will each be 1/4 inch thick. Immediately remove cakes from the pans onto large wire racks. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Cool.

Place red layer on upturned jelly roll pan or large platter lined with foil. Heat preserves; strain. Spread half of the strained preserves over the red layer. Top with a white layer. Spread with remaining preserves. Cover with a green layer, top side up.
Cover with plastic wrap. Weigh down with a large wooden cutting board, heavy flat tray, or large book. Refrigerate overnight.
Melt chocolate on top of a double boiler over hot water.

Trim off the uneven cake edges with a sharp knife. Frost the top layer with half of the melted chocolate. Let chocolate dry. Turn the rectangle over and frost with the remaining chocolate. Let the chocolate dry. Cut the cake crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 6 dozen. Store in a container in the refrigerator. Cookies freeze well.


Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons water

Crust Directions

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients.

Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides.

A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top.

Chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the pie filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and bake for about 60 minutes.

The crust should be light golden brown and the filling should be set.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before loosely covering and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set overnight.


Add these fall-flavored treats to your Thanksgiving table.

Makes 9 Jumbo Cookies – the recipe is easily doubled for larger families.

Ingredients

2 cups (212g) medium rye flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (99g) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup (85g) molasses

Topping
granulated sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the rye flour by spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices. Blend on low until the ingredients are well mixed together.

Combine the egg, oil, and molasses in a measuring cup. While the mixer is running on low speed, pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture until completely combined.

Use a ¼ cup scoop to form the cookies and drop them onto the parchment paper at least two inches apart.

Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, switching the pans after 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and sprinkle the tops with about 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar while very hot. Let cool at room temperature for several hours.

Store cookies, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days or freeze for longer storage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Apple-Pie Cake

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sweetened Whipped Cream for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pan. Spray again.

Peel apples, cut into thin slices and place in a bowl. Toss apple slices with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup brown sugar, and lemon juice, and put them in the prepared pan, pressing down gently as you pack them in the pan.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, baking powder, butter, ½ cup brown sugar, eggs, milk, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon just until the batter is smooth. Pour the mixture over the apples in the prepared pan.

Put the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set. Remove the pan rim and turn the cake over on a serving plate (apples will be on top).

Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

 


2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Lemon glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Directions

In an electric mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a large measuring cup combine the oil, eggs, and lemon juice.
Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed until well combined.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop dough with a medium-sized cookie scoop (¼ cup) and drop on the prepared pan. Place 12 mounds on each baking sheet.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies is lightly browned. Switch the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

When the cookies are completely cooled:
Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Place the cookie racks over waxed paper.
Pour the glaze evenly over the entire tops of the cookies and allow them to dry before serving or storing.


XL Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Makes 15-16 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups All-Purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter softened
11/2 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup for coating
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

Heat the oven to 350degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside
In a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until creamed, add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add flour and mix on low until incorporated.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
Scoop chilled dough with a muffin scoop, about ¼ cup, Roll into a ball and drop into a dish with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Roll balls in the sugar until completely covered.
Place 5 balls on each baking sheet.


Bake for 12 minutes, rotating pans after 6 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan for 10 minutes before sliding the parchment onto the kitchen counter. Repeat with remaining dough. Cool completely and store in an airtight container or in the freezer.



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