8 medium firm bosc pears, halved after cooking
6-8 cups water
1 ½ cups honey
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt
6 T cooled pear poaching liquid
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, heat the water and honey until warm and the honey is dissolved.
Add the ginger slices.
Gently add the pears to the liquid and cover with a round of parchment paper with a small hole cut in the center. To make a parchment circle, take a large circle or square of parchment paper and fold into a triangle. Hold the point hovering over the center of the pot you are using and trim away the excess paper so the circle fits around the diameter of the pot. Cut a hole in the center of the parchment circle to allow some steam to escape while poaching.
Simmer the pears at a very low boil until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
To make the yogurt: Stir together the plain yogurt, cooled pear poaching liquid and vanilla extract.
Serve the halved (from stem to bottom) pears warm or at room temperature with a heaping spoonful of the yogurt.
Makes 10 (1/2 apple) Servings
5 medium firm, sweet apples, like Honeycrisp or Fuji
3 T brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 T butter, halved (20 pieces)
1 cup raisins
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish large enough to fit apple halves with non-stick cooking spray.
Halve the apples from stem to end and use a spoon to scoop out the core, seeds, and stem. Arrange the apple halves in the baking dish with the flesh facing up. Place ½ T butter and a few raisins in each core cavity. Scatter brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover the apples then bake another 20 to 30 minutes until the apples are soft and the topping has browned.
Serve with a drizzle of caramel sauce, or plain. The apples will keep for up to a week, simply reheat in a warm oven or in the microwave.
Make approx 24 2" donuts
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cup whole milk
Canola oil for frying
Granulated sugar for coating
Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached.
Heat to 350°F.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Add the butter and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also do this by hand with a pastry blender. Stir in the milk until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust the dough with flour. Gently pat the dough out until it’s a 1/2-inch in thickness. Use a 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out circles.
Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, being careful not to let them burn. Let drain on a paper bag (or paper towels) to soak up the excess grease.
While still hot, generously coat each doughnut in granulated sugar. Serve. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made.
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
3 T unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 medium lemons, zested
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 10” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, water, butter and salt to simmer. Gradually whisk in flour. Remove from heat.
In large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, granulated sugar, zest and vanilla; mix until smooth.
Add flour mixture, whisk until smooth.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake 1 hour, until edges are lightly browned, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before transferring to serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 24 regular or 12 LARGE
For the Cupcakes:
1 box chocolate cake mix 15.25 ounces
3 large eggs
½ cup butter softened
1 cup milk
For the Buttercream:
1 cup butter softened
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Chocolate:
2 cups dark chocolate
1- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, butter and milk. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place paper cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling ⅔ of the way full. There should be enough to make 24 cupcakes.
Bake for 19 minutes or until the top of the cupcakes spring back when you touch them.
Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.
Make the Buttercream:
In a large bowl, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is almost white in appearance.
Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla extract.
Add two cups of powdered sugar and beat well.
Add in the remaining powdered sugar and beat again.
Add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, to achieve the buttercream consistency that you’d like for spreading or piping the frosting. If you are piping the frosting, be sure the frosting is not too soft so that it holds shape.
Use Wilton Tip 1M to pipe swirls of frosting on top of the cupcakes. Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour so that the frosting can set before dipping in chocolate.
Dip the Cupcakes:
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe cup or dish. Melt in 20-30 second increments, stirring each time. Once the chocolate starts melting, reduce the time to 10-15 seconds. It’s important to melt the chocolate slowly and stir it often so that it does not burn. Add heavy cream if needed.
Take a cupcake, turn it upside down and dip it quickly down into the melted chocolate. Pull it back up and allow the chocolate to drip off.
Once the excess chocolate has dripped off, turn the cupcake over.
Once the chocolate has completely set, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes 8 Large
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. Mix in orange zest. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cranberries. Gradually add buttermilk, gently stirring with a wooden spoon until dough begins to come together. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough, don’t overwork the dough, about 5-7 folds should do it. Form dough into 1-inch- thick round. Cut into wedges. Transfer wedges to pizza/baking stone, spaced about 1” apart.
Bake until tops of scones are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet 10 minutes. Juice the zested orange and add powdered sugar to create a thick glaze. Drizzle over the scones. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups grated carrots
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice (I also added 1 tsp ground cloves and 1 tsp mace)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream oil and sugar together. Add eggs and carrots. Add dry ingredients, a small amount at a time. When well blended, add nuts, raisins, and vanilla. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour. Cool slightly before frosting.
For frosting: Combine all together and blend well. Spread on slightly cooled cake
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Fold in apples and walnuts.
Transfer to a greased 13 x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Slice into 12 equal portions.
YIELD: 1 cup
1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
1 tablespoon very soft butter
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 cup good maple syrup, more if needed
In small bowl whisk ingredients til smooth and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if too thin. Add more maple syrup (or heavy cream or milk) a teaspoon at a time if too thick. Drizzle over just about any dessert! Especially good on cakes, coffee cakes and pastries!
Makes 1 in 9” cast iron pan
1 package of pre-made pie crust
8 cups of fresh or frozen peaches or other fruit
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 T flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg white
2 T water (egg wash)
16 oz. heavy cream
3-4 T powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Let pastry come to room temp and roll out. Place in a 9-10” greased cast iron skillet.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Melt the ½ cup of butter in a saucepan. Add the 3 T of flour and stir until it begins to form a paste. Add the ¼ cup water, ½ cup white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar and stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3-5 minutes.
Arrange peaches in the bottom of the pastry. Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the peaches until all the peaches are covered. Gently fold the pastry dough over the edges of the peaches. Mix one egg and water together and whisk to make an egg wash. Brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with whipped cream.
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup erythritol natural sweetener
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all three ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll out 15 one-inch sized cookies onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Use a fork to press down on the tops of the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-13 minutes. Let cool and serve. Store leftovers in a covered container.