Walnut Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached finely chopped walnuts (divided)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (divided)
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3oz semisweet chocolate (chopped or chocolate chips)
1 cup whole milk

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan. Coat with 1/2 cup walnuts.
Beat butter and 6 tablespoons of sugar on medium speed of a heavy-duty mixer. Mix until soft and light. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, walnuts and chocolate. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Mix on low speed just until blended. Beat in the milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.
Beat egg whites on medium speed with a mixer’s whisk attachment. Mix until white and opaque and just beginning to hold a shape. Increase speed to medium-high and add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Continue mixing until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of egg whites into batter. Then, fold in remaining egg whites.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack them remove cake from pan

My comments: it is not that simple to make (only because I'm too lazy when it comes to beating egg whites separated) but it is easy. It's not a very sweet cake (I like that!), but with plenty of walnuts and chocolate chips! I baked my cake for 50 minutes. You can switch walnuts for macadamias or pecans, use semisweet or milk chocolate chips or even make a chocolate or caramel frosting. It's a perfect cake for the holiday season!

Quinoa Pizza Ball

2 cups white or red beans cooked and drained
2/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 cups cooked plain quinoa
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/3 tsp agave nectar (optional)
Pinch of garlic powder and black pepper
Salt to taste
24 cubes of mozzarella (optional)

PreparationIn a large bowl, mash beans until smooth. Add tomato paste, hot sauce, quinoa, parsley, basil, oregano, agave nectar, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix with wooden spoon (or your hands) until it has formed into a soft dough. Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, then press a cube of cheese in each one and form the dough around the cube.
Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper, and bake balls for roughly 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. The outsides should be crispy and golden-brown, and the insides will be soft.  
Comments: I used white beans and pepper flakes but I didn't use agave nectar. Yielded 20 balls .
The mozzarella is optional . If you leave out, it is a great vegan recipe, but if you have no dietary restriction, I would suggest mozzarella or even some spicy Italian sausage!

Yogurt Cake

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% Fage yogurt)
1 cup (use the same yogurt container less a finger) canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder

Preparation: Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease and flour a round pan. Set aside.
Blend together eggs, yogurt and oil. Reserve. Separately, in a large container, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Comments: simple, right? You will be surprised with the texture! I used mini loaf cake pans and it worked really well. As I said, if you want, you can add lemon/orange zest or any berry (raspberry, blueberry, cranberry...)

Lime Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons lime zest (approx 2 limes)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola)
1/3 cup lime juice

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Put aside. In another large bowl mix together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lime zest and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil until well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cook 1/3 cup lime juice and remaining sugar (1/3 cup) in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Carefully place the cake on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm pour the sugar-lime mixture over the cake. Let it cool and serve.

Comments: This cake is super easy and doesn't require an electric mixer! I baked it for almost an hour, but could have taken it out some minutes before. I poured the sugar-lime mixture onto the cake still in the pan because I wanted it to be really soaked in the syrup. And I think it worked because the cake, especially the edges, were so good and moisty! (it's a good amount of syrup but I think it is the perfect amount for the lime taste to stand out). The original recipe comes with a sugar glaze, but I thought it was not necessary to add more sugar to the cake and maybe hide the lime taste. So I didn't make it (and I think I was right...)

Homemade Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds (I used chopped)
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
3/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
or 1 cup raisins

Preparation: Preheat oven to 250 F. In a large bowl mix the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar (+ cinnamon). In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil and salt (+ vanilla extract). Combine the two mixtures and pour onto one (or two) sheets pans. Cook for 1h15m stirring every 15 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and add the raisins.

Comments: The original recipe looks amazing, but since I didn't have all the ingredients, I made my own version. I made with 1 1/2 cups of oats; I didn't include coconut because hubby does not like it and I didn't include raisins because I don't like granola with raisins. I follow the baking time and stirred every 15 minutes. Since I short short in some ingredients, one sheet was enough and we have homemade granola for a whole week! (2 people eating it everyday). It was delicious! Super crunchy, sweet and I'm glad I added cinnamon (and I was very generous). As I said, you can change the nuts, add dried berries etc. I will make it again for sure! (keep it in an airtight container)

Baked Donuts with Chocolate Glaze


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chocolate Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4-5 tsp milk
Preparation: Lightly grease a mini donuts pan. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, egg and melted butter until mixture is smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, then half of the flour mixture. Mix in the buttermilk, followed by the remaining flour. Stir only until all ingredients are well combined. Scoop batter into a quart or gallon-sized plastic bag and chill for 2 hours (or overnight if you want to prep the donuts the night before). Preheat the oven to 325F and remove the bag from the refrigerator after batter has chilled. Snip the corner off of the plastic bag and pipe batter into mini donut cavities, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 minutes approx. Turn donuts out to cool on a wire rack.  The glaze: mix all ingredients until smooth. Dip tops of donuts in glaze when donuts are completely cooled and decorate. Allow glaze to set for at least 1 hour before storing.

My comments: It's very easy and requires no stand mixer (the dough is a bit sticky). I followed the recipe and left in the refrigerator for 2 hours. My donut pan has 6 cavities an the dough yielded 1. I think it makes a huge difference using the pastry bag (it's much easier!) As I said, the dough is not amazing, but it works (I'll add some taste to it in future versions). And the chocolate glaze made it better. The glaze was enough to cover all the 11 donuts. Halfway through the process the glaze was getting thicker so I added a few more drops of milk. I'll make this dough again for sure, because I just love the result! And you can play with the toppings, glazes etc.

Orange (or Passion Fruit) Sauce

30 grams butter
1 clove of garlic
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
500 ml chicken broth
100 ml orange juice
Seedless orange wedges (without that white membrane)
salt, pepper, sugar, thyme and ginger (to taste)
50 ml orange liquor (optional)

Preparation: In a saucepan, melt the butter with garlic, onion and ginger. Stir in flour and fry it for a few minutes. Add the orange liqueur and let the alcohol evaporate. Add the broth and the juice stirring well. Leave it simmering for a few minutes until you get a reduction. Finish it seasoning with salt and pepper, adding the orange wedges and sprinkling the thyme leaves.

My comments: I had made a passion fruit syrup (= reduction of passion fruit juice and sugar) and I had leftover. Since I don't like to throw any food away, I decided to make this recipe with passion fruit syrup instead of orange. It was delicious! I made the recipe above (eye-bowling as always!), but I did not put orange liqueur nor ginger nor thyme. I'm sure the ginger would give more charm to the sauce, but it was delicious without it too. And, as I said, the brown rice I made the next day was divine!

Spicy Cookie

125g all purpose flour
2 tbsp spicy paprika
a pinch of salt
½ tsp baking powder
125g unsalted butter
20g granulated sugar
50g brown sugar
1 egg
5g vanilla extract
90g semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation: Preheat oven 350F. Combine flour, paprika, salt and baking powder and set aside. Using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until is well incorporated. Reduce speed, add the flour mixture and, finally, chocolate chips. Make small balls and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

My comments: there is no secret! Just follow the recipe. When the dough is ready, I put it in the fridge for a couple of hours (I do this with almost every cookie recipes). In this case, it stayed in fridge for 4 hours. The cookie has kind of a "fluffy" texture (not chewy!) and you do taste the spiciness of the paprika at the very end (for that reason I don't think it's a good idea to give it to kids!). I really liked it and, as said before, it's great with a glass of milk!

Orange Tea Cake

One whole orange (don't peel it. Just wash well)
3/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder

Preparation: cut the orange in quarters and put in a blender (take out the seeds if you see any) along with the oil, eggs and sugar. Blend it well. Pour it into a bowl and gently mix in the flour and baking powder. Place  the batter in a 9" round pan, greased and floured, and bake it in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Let it cool on wire rack.

My comments: this recipe has no secret. I just followed the recipe and the cake was great! Fluffy, "orangy" and with the right amount of sugar. If you want, you can make an orange syrup/glaze and pour over the cake (I didn't use any glaze. I kept it simple and delicious!)

Salmon Tartare

Ingredients (2 servings)
150g raw salmon, chopped into cubes (half inch approx)
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 tbsp chopped scallions (chop a little more for garnish)
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp regular mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, black pepper
1/2 (or 1) chopped avocado
1/2 (or 1) diced tomatoes (you can keep the skin but no seeds)

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve in individual bowls decorated with scallions.

My comments: I bought a piece of salmon and chopped it myself (if you have a good knife, it works!). The avocado and tomatoes were not in the original recipe, but whenever I order this tartare in restaurants, it comes with one of these ingredients. And, as hubby and I love these two, I added them to the recipe, mixed everything together and was delicious! You can play with the presentation: you can do directly on the plate, creating a bed of sliced ​​avocado with the tartare on top, or use a mold etc..
Like almost all my savory recipes, I change the quantities a lot, until it gets to my taste. And you too can increase/decrease whatever you want. Seasoning is important, but do not over do it (you still have to taste the fish). And as I said, you can use tuna instead.

Coconut Macaroons

14 ounces sweetened grated coconut (can be flakes)
1 can (14 ounces) condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 tsp salt

Preparation: Pre-heat oven 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites (until peaks form) with salt and set aside. In a bowl, mix together coconut, condensed milk and vanilla until well blended. Gently stir in the egg whites. Using two tablespoons or a cookie scoop, make little balls and place them on the sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and with the help of a spatula, transfer to a wire rack and let the cool.

My comments: This is the second time I make the recipe, because the first one I used wax paper and all the macaroons (I said ALL!) stuck to the paper and no one could take them off. This time, I lined one sheet with silicone mat and the other with parchment paper. It worked! I've been using both papers (wax and parchment) and everything was going OK until that day. Well, I still don't understand what happened, but the good thing is that it finally worked! (and I will use only parchment paper from now on)
Do leave space between the macaroons because they spread out a bit. A good tip is to dip the base of the macaroons in melted semisweet chocolate. I could not do that because I was out of chocolate but it must be delicious! (like the gingerbread cookies, these macaroons are also a really cool gift)

Ginger cookies with lime glaze

Ingredients cookies
1 ¾ cups + ½ tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
5 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
70g crystallized ginger, finely chopped
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients glaze
¾ cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tbsp lime juice (more if needed)

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger powder and confectioner's sugar in a large bowl. Stir in crystallized ginger and mix. Add butter and vanilla extract and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until ingredients are well incorporated.Make little balls (using a tbsp as reference) and place on baking sheets about 1" apart. Press each ball gently with a fork (dip it in flour to avoid sticking in the dough) and bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let them cool completely and transfer to wire racks.About the glaze: mix sugar and lime juice in a bowl until it gets smooth and shiny (add a little more water if needed). Pour over each cold cookie and let them harden.

My comments: It's very easy to make. The cookies are buttery and you can feel the taste of ginger (crystallized ginger is essential to this recipe. Buy a good quality one!). I made some cookies with that ball shape, but the vast majority, I opened up the dough - between 2 sheets of parchment paper - with rolling pin and used cookie cutters. But if you don't have cutters, nor the patience to roll out the dough, the little balls works perfectly!I liked both cookies (with and without the glaze - I made both), but I think, for the next times, I'll leave them without it, because I love the taste of ginger and the texture of the cookies by themselves.

Flourless Zucchini Pie

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 medium grated zucchini (unpeeled - well washed)
200g ricotta
1 or 2 chopped peeled tomatoes (no seeds)
grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
pepper (I used red flakes)

Preparation: it's very simple: put all ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) in a large bowl and stir until well blended. In a greased and floured baking dish (I used olive oil and bread crumbs), pour all the batter and top it with the parmesan cheese and, if you want, a bit of bread crumbs so you can get that crunchy top layer. Place in preheated oven 350F for about 15 to 20 minutes (you can easily see when it's done). The texture is like a frittata.

My comments: As zucchini and tomatoes are very watery, after grated and chopped, I let them stand in a colander for a while. In the case of the mozzarella, I only had about 2 tbsp, but it was enough for me because I did not want this dish with too much cheese, but if you want, you can add as much as you like. You can also add diced turkey breast, sausage or ham; and even other vegetables such as corn, peas etc..

Passion Fruit Cake

4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup passion fruit pulp (or concentrated juice)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp baking powder

Pulp of 2 passion fruits (keep the seeds) - I used concentrated juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Preparation: Pre-heat oven 350F. Beat the egg whites and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter until it becomes a fluffy cream. Add, alternately, passion fruit juice and flour. Finally, with the mixer on low speed, add the baking powder. Remove from mixer and add in the egg whites. Bake it in a greased and floured pan (round, square or rectangular) until the toothpick comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and make the glaze: combine all ingredients in a saucepan and let it simmer until slightly thickened. With the cake still hot and in the pan, poke the cake many times using a toothpick and pour the glaze over. Or allow the cake to cool, unmold it and then pour the glaze. If you choose the hot option (I did) remember that you will have problems to take it out of the pan (once the glaze is cold, it gets a little bit sticky). So my advice for serving, is to cut it into squares pieces and use a serving dish.

My comments: as I said, the cake is yummy, fluffy, with a great passion fruit flavor and not very sweet. It's great with the glaze (which gives a sour kick), but will be fine without it. If you want to try the chocolate glaze, you can make any recipe of your choice and follow the same instructions for glazing. With a cup of coffee or for an afternoon snack is a delight!

Chili - Version I

As I said, I don't follow any recipe. So I'll list the ingredients I used for this recipe - and some other ideas - and then you can adapt to your own taste.

1 pound ground meat (I used ground turkey but you can go with a lean version of ground beef)
chopped onion (half)
chopped garlic (1-2 cloves)
1 or 1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce in pieces (hubby and I love tomatoes, so I use 1 1/2 cans. And if you do not have tomato sauce, you can use chopped peeled tomatoes)
ketchup or barbecue sauce (2-3 tablespoons)
1 can of garbanzo (you can substitute for white, black or pinto beans)
2 medium grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins
1 bottle Guinness
paprika (spicy or smoked)
chili powder
hot sauce
cinnamon (just a pinch. You can use 1 tbsp of sugar, but I prefer cinnamon)

Preparation: sauté onion and garlic with olive oil (or coconut oil), add the meat and let it brown. At this point, many people add a tablespoon of flour or cornmeal to help thickening the sauce, but I don't do this and it works. Then add the beer, tomato sauce and all the seasonings (including ketchup or barbecue sauce). I am very generous with paprika and chili. If you wish, add a cup of water or beef stock. Let it cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes. When the sauce is thick, add the grated carrots, raisins and garbanzo. Mix well and turn the heat off. Warning: even after turning it off, the sauce will dry out a bit. So don't let it thick and dry too much while still in the heat. It's great! And you can serve it with bread and grated mozzarella cheese.

Brazilian Carrot Cake


large peeled carrots
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 cup sweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar

Preparation: Beat the egg whites and set aside. Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Using a blender, mix the carrots, sugar, oil and egg yolks. Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir well. Add the egg whites and stir all together slowly. Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan (I used a removable bottom round pan). It's ready when the toothpick comes out clean. When your cake is almost ready, make the glaze: put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Pour the glaze (still hot) all over the warm cake (you can pour the glaze with the cake still in the pan or you can take the cake out and then pour the glaze on top)

My comments: As you can see, there is no secret. It's a very simple and easy cake. It's super fluffy and yellow-ish because of the carrots and egg yolks (I love this color!). About the glaze, I made one and a half recipe because I tought the cake was too big for only one. And I also thought it was thinner than I wanted it to be so, next time, I will leave it boiling more. But, still, it was delicious! And when the glaze is cold, it has a little crunchy texture.

Cauliflower Gratin

1 medium head cauliflower (cooked in salted water)
100g grated parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
1 tbsp diced butter (or olive oil)

Preparation: chop the cooked cauliflower and put aside. In a blender, mix heavy cream, 50g parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg until light and fluffy.
In a greased and floured (use breadcrumbs) baking dish, spread all the chopped cauliflower and pour all the cream on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, the remaining parmesan cheese and diced butter. Bake until golden brown and bubbling. Serves 4.

My Comments: This is an very easy and quick recipe. As I said, you can take/add any other ingredients (a different cheese, diced chicken or turkey breast, tomatoes, etc). I had no heavy cream at home, so I made a thick cream using skim milk and flour and it worked very well (I believe that using heavy cream is gonna be even better!). The recipe called for finely chopped cauliflower, but for those - like me - who like cauliflower don't "overchop" so you can still feel its consistency. I also prefered not to use butter on top. I drizzled a bit of olive oil instead. Serves 4 if served as a side dish. In my case, this was my main dish, but still enough for hubby, me and some leftover.

Corn Cake

1 can of corn (drained)
1 can* of sugar or sweetener
1 can of corn meal

1 can (minus 1 inch) of vegetable oil
1 can of milk
4 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder

* use the corn can as a measure cup for all the ingredients.

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients in a blender (leave the baking powder for last and mix it using low speed) and transfer the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan (you can use sugar instead of flour). It will be ready when the toothpick comes out clean.

Comments: As you can see, there's no secret. This cake is very easy to make. It's super moist and has the right amount of sugar! The texture is almost like a tamale. Delicious!

Devil's Food Cake

Chocolate Pecan Tart

Wrapped Cranberry and Brie

Broccoli Crunch Slaw

Here is the original recipe but I've adapted it a little bit: I did not use onions (I don't like raw onions), and instead of almonds, I used chopped walnuts. If you don't have cranberries, use raisins or even chopped fresh apple. I think this salad asks for something sweet and it makes a huge difference, but don't like sweet & savory food, exclude the dried fruit.
The amount of mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon is up to you (I used the juice from a whole lime). And in case you don't find Greek yogurt, you can replace it with whole yogurt, sour cream or even prepare it with mayo only.
To turn it into a main dish, just add chopped grilled chicken
As you can see, you can be very creative with this recipe and build your own salad. I had never eaten a broccoli salad like thi one, but now I am a fan and I'll make it again next summer for sure!

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 3/4 fresh cranberries
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preparation: preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisky together flour, baking powder and salt. Rub the bottom and sides of a 8" removable pan with 2 tbsp of butter (will be a thick layer of butter). In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup of sugar with cinnamon and allspice, and sprinkle this mixture over the butter. On top of that, arrange the cranberries in a single layer.
Using an electric mixer, medium speed, beat the remaining 6 tbsp of butter with the other 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Reduce speed and add the flour mixture alternating with milk. Beat until well combined.
Spread the batter over the cranberries. Bake until the toothpick comes out clean (about 30 minutes). Let it cool place it onto a serving platter.

My comments: it's a very tasty cake. Perfect for serving in the afternoon with a cup of coffee. The batter is fluffy and tastes vanilla, the cranberries are a little bit sour but blend perfectly with the cinnamon and allspice. This is not a tall cake and it yields 8 slices. It's not too easy to unmold (the sugar sticks a little) and when it  was in the oven, it leaked a little bit (almost every time I use my removable pan, the batter leaks a little and I never remember to place it inside another sheet, but maybe next time I will remember...) Like I said, this recipe might work with other types of berries and it should be delicious with vanilla ice cream! It is a fresh and light cake.

Thanksgiving: Nutella Panna Cotta

Thanksgiving: corn muffins and turkey

Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce

Cinnamon Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oats, quick or old fashioned
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
3/4 cups milk
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp gound cinnamon

Ingredients glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 tsp orange juice

Preparation: pre-heat oven 425 F. In a large bow combine flour, oats, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add the pieces of butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. in small bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a fork or spatula until all ingredients are moistened. In a small bowl, combine remaining sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Mix well and add to the dough. Gently stir the dough but do not over mix. You don't have to blend completely. Using a spoon, drop the dough on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Makes 12 scones.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and prepare the glaze by mixing the sugar with the juice until desired consistency (more or less liquid). Drizzle over warm scones. Makes 12 scones.

My comments: Delish! It's fast and so simple to make. I thought it would dry out because of the oats, but not at all! It was fluffy, sweet and buttery at the right amount, and you can taste the cinnamon. I made them with skim milk and it was great! The walnuts give a special touch, and you can easily replace it for almonds. Next time, I will add dried cranberries. And I did not make the drizzle because I had run out of orange juice, but I suggest you to make it. It should be very tasty.
As you can see, I made the scones in a "rustic" shape, not too smooth, as the recipe called for. I thought it was pretty cool! (when I make another version of scones , I will try another shape for you to see). I totally recommend it!

Turnover with egg roll dough

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation: Pre-heat oven 325 F. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger into a medium bowl and set aside. Using the mixer on medium speed, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil until smoothly blended (one minute). Mix in eggs one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients until incorporated. Mix in 2 cups os choco chips.
Place the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan and let in the oven until the toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool on a wire rack.
Put the remaining 1/2 cup choco chips in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place over, but not touching, a saucepan with simmering water. Stir until the choco chips are melted and smooth.
Place the cake on a serve plate and drizzle melted chocolate over it.

My comments: As I said in the post, this is one of the best pumpkin cakes I've ever had. Moisty, but at the same time dense, with tons of choco chips. I used dark chocolate because it was what I had at home, but since I really liked the batter (I love spices and you can taste the cinnamon and the ginger in this cake) maybe I would decrease slightly the amount, or buy smaller chips. But my hubby loved it!
By the way, buy good quality spices. They make a huge difference mainly when you are making dishes which spices are the center of the attention.
I did not make the drizzle, because there wasn't enough chocolate, but it must be delicious. You can prepare your favorite choco drizzle (with heavy cream, or butter, or cocoa powder etc.), but I suggest you to serve it on the side, because the cake is great without it and already has enough chocolate in the batter.
You can also switch some (or all) choco chips for chopped nuts (that's what I'm gonna make next time and I'll keep you posted!). Thanks, Bev!

Cake Dulce de Leche

1 cup dulce de leche (Argentina has the best dulce de leche)
100ml canola oil
160g granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
160g all purpose flour
pinch of salt
Ingredients Glaze
1 1 / 2 cups confectioners sugar
2 1 / 2 tbsp coconut milk
toasted coconut

Preparation: In a mixer, beat the dulce de leche, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating one by one. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to mixture in the mixer and blend it until all ingredients are well combined. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and place it in pre-heated oven (350F). The cake will be ready when the toothpick comes out clean. Cool it on a wire rack and only when the cake's cooled down you prepare the glaze: mix the sugar with the coconut milk and pour it over the cake. On top of that, decore it with the toasted coconut.

My comments: the cake is sweet and has an incredible texture: fluffy and moist. I think I might do a test next time and reduce - very little - the amount of oil. And you do taste the dulce de leche! I did not make the glaze, because hubby doesn't like coconut and I'm still searching for a very good quality coconut milk. Anyway, it was nice not to have made it, because for our taste, the cake was sweet enough (it should be amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!).
This recipe makes a big cake. In my case, I knew that my loaf pan would be a bit small for the amount of batter, but I worked on some "magic" and used it anyway, because I really wanted to try my new pan. But I do recommend you to use a bundt pan.

Sweet Moments: Sweet Quinoa (original recipe)

1 cup cooked quinoa (no seasoning)
1 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
2 tbsp toasted coconut
chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced ​​strawberries

Preparation: In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa, milk, cinnamon, maple syrup, bring it to boil, reduce the heat and boil until it is the way you like (more or less consistent). Remove it from pan to a serving bowl. Top it with the toasted coconut, chopped pecans and sliced ​​strawberries. Serves two portions.

My comments: You can substitute almost all ingredients for those of your choice. For example, instead of pecans, use walnuts or almonds; instead of strawberries, use bananas or apples, the toasted coconut can be replaced by raisins. About the milk, I made it with fat free cow's milk and it was great, but since I like it more less consistent, I used a higher proportion (1 cup of milk for 1/2 cup of quinoa).

Very Special Homemade Burger

Marble Cake

4 eggs
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk (or coconut milk)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). Beat the egg whites until they get a firm peaks texture and set it aside. Beat the egg yolks with butter until it turns into a cream and add the sugar gradually. Mix the flour and cornstarch together and gradually add it to the egg yolks mix alternating it with the milk. Finally (and with the mixer on low speed), add the baking powder. Remove from mixer and incorporate the egg whites. Place half of the dough in a bundt pan, greased and floured. Add unsweetened cocoa powder to the remaining half. Mix well and pour it over the white batter that is already in the pan. Bake it until the toothpick comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes). Let it cool on wire rack before serving.

My comments: the cake is delicious. Super soft and, like most of my desserts, not too sweet. As I used cow milk, I think a few drops of vanilla extract would give a kick to the batter, but even without it, the cake was very tasty. With coconut milk should be good too! You can also choose sweetened cocoa powder instead of unsweetened (and your cake is going to be sweeter)

Vanilla cupcake filled with Nutella

3 eggs lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (equivalent to one stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Nutella

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). Using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until a fluffy cream. In a small mixing bowl place the eggs with the vanilla and stir lightly. In another mixing bowl, place the flour, salt and yeast. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture beating at low speed. Once incorporated, still in low speed, add the flour mixture until all ingredients are incorporated (I personally add the baking powder last and mix with a spatula). Grease and flour cupcake pans. Fill 1/3 of the cups with the batter. With a teaspoon (or melon ball maker) add the Nutella in the middle and cover with remaining batter. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before serving. Makes 12 cupcakes.

My comments: The batter is not too sweet and tastes vanilla. I might have used 3/4 of the Nutella jar but depends on each one. If the Nutella is hard (mine was in the right spot), you can heat it quickly in the microwave. However, be careful not to leave it too soft, otherwise it is going to be difficult to place it in the center of the batter. If you do not want the Nutella in the middle as I did, leave it very soft and make a marbled cupcake.The original recipe was given by a friend (Thanks Bev!) and it is a little different: you are going to use a pound cake pan, 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) of butter, 4 eggs and the whole jar of softened Nutella. The rest of the ingredients and how to prepare them are the same as described above. To assemble the cake, you divide the batter into 3 parts and intermediate batter + nutella + batter + nutella + batter.

I decided to change a bit the original recipe because my friend had warned me that the original cake was very rich and dense and I wanted something lighter. I was pleased with the result! Light and very tasty.

Cornmeal Cake  (Brazilian Style)

3 egg whites
3 yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
Optional: guava paste, chopped into small cubes.

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). In a mixer beat the egg whites until it gets a firm peaks texture. Still beating, add the yolks one by one. Add sugar, milk, oil, and, gradually, the flour and cornmeal mixed together. Beat it until the batter is well blended and fluffy. Outside the mixer, if you choose to use the guava paste, add the cubes into the batter and stir slowly. Also out of the mixer add the yeast and stir gently. Grease and flour a bundt or square pan (you can use sugar and cinnamon instead of flour). Pour the batter and bake it for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool on wire rack before serving.

My comments: I used skim milk and let the guava paste out this time. I really liked the recipe. The cake was delicious, soft and ou could taste the cornmeal. But this is not that creamy corn cake. It's that perfect traditional cake to eat along with a cup of coffee!

Homemade Zucchini Spice Bread


1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup grated raw zucchini
Optional: chopped walnuts

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). In a mixing bowl place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. In another bowl place the sugar (brown and normal), eggs, vanilla and zucchinis (and nuts). Add these ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until well blended (do not stir too much). Place the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. The cake will be ready when the toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool on wire rack before serving.

My comments: the cake is sweet! I even reduced the amount of sugar (I used light brown sugar only) and yet it was sweet.You can not taste the zucchini, but the flavor of the spices is very prominent. Since I excluded the ginger and cloves (I didn't have them at home), I added walnuts and I thought they gave a very nice touch. And I also wanted it to be a little bit sweet & salty so I added chopped raw pancetta. It was delicious! But if you want to go 100% sweet you can use chopped chocolate (or choco chips). I served this cake as dinner, with mozzarela and tomatoes salad seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (to break the sweeteness of the cake). The flavor is amazing. I recommend it!

Goiabinhas (Typical Brazilian treat)

3 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
400g guava paste

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F) for 20 minutes. In a bowl, place the flour (set aside a small amount), sugar, salt and yeast. Stir. Add the butter and the eggs lightly beaten. On a flat and floured surface, knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and not sticky (if necessary, use the flour left aside). Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Open portions of the dough with a roller. Use a round cutter (2 in diameter) and fill it with pieces of guava paste. Using egg whites (or one egg lighlty beaten) join 2 sides of the dough just to cover the center of the guava piece. Place them onto a greased and floured baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Makes approx 50 goiabinhas.

My comments: the dough is neither too sweet nor buttery. And it is easy to work with.  

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk *
1 tsp red food coloring (the amount of food coloring depends on the color you want your cake. The more you put the darker it gets)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
* Make your own buttermilk with a cup of milk and a spoon (tablespoon) white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes (I made my way and gave out very well!)

Frosting ingredients *
1 / 2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
220g (1 package) cream cheese
2-3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (in this case, use clear one otherwise, the frosting is going to be ivory and not white)
* This amount of frosting is not enough to cover and fill an entire cake. You can fill it and cover just the top, but not the sides.

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer for 3 minutes at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until they are incorporated into the cream. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Add to the mixer, interchangeably, the wet and dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 9' round pan, greased and floured with cocoa powder (otherwise the cake will be with traces of flour and will not be beautiful if you let the batter exposed as mine). Remove from oven when the toothpick comes out completely clean. Let it cool before frosting.

Frosting: Beat butter and sugar in mixer for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add sugar slowly, tasting the cream until it reaches the desired point (I used under 2 cups because I like the taste of cream cheese foremost). When the cake is completely cooled, fill and frost it (if you find that the frosting is a little soft put it in the refrigerator until it gets a little thicker and easier to work with).

My comments: It is one of the most delicious cakes I've ever made/eaten. The hubby loved it! I loved the frosting, you could really taste the cream cheese and it was not too sweet. The batter was fluffy and with a lovely color! I recommend it!

Cheesecake - practical and easy!

Espresso Chocolate Bundt Cake

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 3 / 4 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preparation: Preheat oven (350F). Grease and flour a bundt pan. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter (medium-low heat) with the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Add the dissolved coffee and remove from heat. Add sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and mix well until smooth. In another bowl place the flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until well blended. Place batter in the pan and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before serving.

My comments: this cake is delicious! Very moist and not sweet. You can barely taste the coffee but you know it is in there. You should use a very good quality cocoa powder, because it will make a huge difference in your cake since it is the predominant flavor.