Buffalo Chicken Pull-Apart Bread

Ingredients

half of this pizza dough recipe right here
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
1/3 cup (roughly) buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)
1/2 cup (roughly) blue cheese crumbles
1 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 3 x 6 mini loaf pan.

2. Roll the dough out super thin on a flour working surface. I had two leftover balls from the recipe, so I rolled them out separately. But you can do whatever. I DON’T EVEN CARE. I’m totally kidding. I care.

3. Using a knife or pizza cutter, trim the ends so you have a nice clean large square.

4. Brush the dough with the buffalo sauce.

5. Sprinkle the shredded chicken over the sauce.

6. Then sprinkle on that good crumbled blue cheese.

7. Then, carefully stack them on top of each other. Like maybe two or three at at time. Then transport them to the mini loaf pan where they’re side by side. Kelly had much better luck at making them nice and uniform. Mine look sad and pretty much suicidal.

8. Slide them into the oven for 15 minutes.

9. While they’re in the oven, melt your butter, add the minced garlic and mixeroo.

10. Pull the pan out, and brush the top with the garlic butter. Slide it back in for another 20 minutes.

11. Sprinkle some cilantro over the top and pull it apart, enjoy.

Peanut Butter-Glazed Chocolate Midnight Doughnuts

Ingredients

¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ cups boiling water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups Silvana’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter or dairy-free buttery sticks
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
1 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped, for sprinkling

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease two nonstick 6-doughnut baking pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water; let cool completely. Whisk in the eggs, oil and vanilla.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; fill the prepared pans with about ¼ cup batter in each doughnut mold. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan, melt together the peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar and rice syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and top with the peanuts.

Holiday Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

2 packages (12 ounces each) JOHNSONVILLE® Original Breakfast Sausage Links
6 English muffins, cut into 1-in. cubes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
12 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bacon bits

Directions

1. Cook sausage according to package directions. Cool slightly; cut into ¼-inch slices.

2. In a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish, layer half the English muffin cubes and half the cooked sausage. Repeat layers.

3. Drizzle with butter and top with the cheese, onion and red pepper.

4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over casserole. Sprinkle with bacon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350˚F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Let stand 5 minutes.

Lemon Raspberry Ruffle Cake

Ingredients

For Victoria Sponge Cake
340 gr. butter at room temperature
340 gr. sugar
1’5 tsp. Vanilla extract
6 large eggs
300 gr. raising flour
40 gr. cornstarch
1’5 tsp. yeast
6 tbsp milk
zest of half a lemon
zest of half a lime
3 tsp. cointreau liqueur

For the Buttercream
300 ml egg whites
560 gr. sugar
550 gr. butter (good quality)
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
3 tsp raspberry lyophilized powder
pink dye

Directions

For Victoria Sponge Cake
1. In a bowl, put the butter and sugar, beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. We add the eggs one by one and beat well after each addiction, add the remaining ingredients and mix to incorporate.

3. Add the flour, cornstarch and baking powder, gradually incorporating it, taking care not to crush the mass, so they do not lose fluffiness. Finally we put the milk and we link well with the dough, until we left smooth and fluffy.

For buttercream
4. Put the egg whites in a bowl in a double boiler and heat it slightly (a few minutes), stirring constantly, then add the sugar and mix until we get the sugar has dissolved completely.

5. Once at this point add the raspberry powder and mix until dissolved.

6. We spent this mixture to the bowl of our mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until a meringue with stiff peaks and shiny.

7. Just then changed the whisk attachment and put the shovel and began to gradually add the butter cut into small pieces (this should be at room temperature), we will see him go slightly before each integrating addiction. Mix until a creamy and firm.

ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
1. We put one of the cakes on the mold where you go to file, fill with buttercream, put the next cake on top and return to fill it, cover it with the last cake and cover the whole cake (sides and top) with buttercream.

2. Then prepare the pastry put the nozzle we want to decorate, here is the number 124, Wilton, and fill the sleeve with our fill. Then we create the decoration of the flyers from the bottom up, continuing to complete the cake. We finish the process by covering the top.

Summer Corn Cakes

Ingredients

3 EARS CORN, SHUCKED
1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
1/2 CUP CORNMEAL (IF YOU CAN ONLY FIND CORNMEAL MIX, SKIP THE BAKING POWDER.)
1/4 CUP DICED RED ONION
1/4 CUP THINLY SLICED FRESH BASIL
1 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
1/2 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
2 LARGE EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN
2 TABLESPOONS WELL-SHAKEN BUTTERMILK
2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER, MELTED
CANOLA OIL, FOR FRYING
CHOPPED TOMATO AND AVOCADO SALSA (RECIPE FOLLOWS)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.

2. Cut the corn from the cobs into a large bowl, and scrape the stripped cobs with the back of the knife (or a spoon) to release the juices into the bowl.

3. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels into a food processor, and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.

4. Add flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper to the corn. Stir to mix.

5. Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter, and stir just to combine. (Do not overmix.)

6. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to barely cover the bottom, and heat until sizzling hot.

7. One heaping tablespoon at a time, scoop the batter into the skillet. Cooking in batches of 4 to 5 to avoid overcrowding, fry the cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

8. Drain on the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining corn cakes. Serve warm topped with a heap of Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa.

Shrimp Grits

Ingredients

GRITS
1 Tablespoon of butter
1 cup milk
1 cup water, and additional may be needed to thin grits.
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
salt and pepper

Shrimp
1/2 cup butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 ounces dry white wine*
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped green onions

Directions

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Add milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; whisk in grits. Reduce heat to lowest setting; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Add cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. If they set too firmly when ready to serve with shrimp, add water or milk to thin and reconstitute.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, celery, bell pepper, onions, cajun seasoning; sauté 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and cook 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and veggies from skillet.

3. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; whisk in remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in lemon juice. Cook 1-2 minutes. Return shrimp and veggies to pan. Stir to mix with butter sauce. Serve over grits. Garnish with green onions if desired.

* If you would rather not use the wine, use broth or lemon juice.

Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup plus 1 tsp.all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp.unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.salt
1/3 cupun salted butter, softened
3/4 cupsugar
2 eggs
1 tsp.vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting, recipe below
1 recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries, recipe below (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside.

2. In bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

3. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

4. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.

5. Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate. To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.

6. Cherry Frosting: In chilled large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream. 1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream), 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice. Beat with chilled beaters on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

7. Chocolate Frosting: In a chilled large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream, 1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream), 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder. Beat with chilled beaters on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

8. Chocolate-Dipped Cherries: Drain 16 maraschino cherries with stems; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 1 teaspoon shortening. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.

9. Alphabet Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake batter, above. Line sixteen 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Fill each cup with two slightly rounded tablespoons of cake batter. Bake 18 minutes or until top springs back. Cool completely on wire rack. To assemble, top each cupcake with Cherry or Chocolate Frosting, above, (you will have some frosting left over). Top with Alphabet Cookies, recipe below.

10. Alphabet Cookies: On a lightly floured surface knead 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into 1/2 of a 16.5-ounce package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. Brush lightly with water; sprinkle with coarse red sugar. Cut 16 small cookies for cupcakes and cut remainder into desired shapes. Bake small cookies in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 6 minutes; bake larger cookies 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Use to decorate cupcakes.

Glitter Ball Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Sanding sugar, in assorted colors

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour, and mix just until combined. Shape into 3/4-inch balls (chill dough if too sticky). Place sanding sugar in shallow bowls. Roll each ball in sanding sugar, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.

2. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack. Spread 2 cookies with just enough filling to allow them to stick together.

Christmas Snowball

Yield: about 3 dozen.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 32 squares)
3-1/2 cups flaked coconut, divided
32 to 35 large marshmallows

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, milk, cocoa and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in cracker crumbs and 1-1/2 cups coconut. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

3. Using moistened hands, wrap about 1 tablespoon of mixture around each marshmallow (dip hands in water often to prevent sticking). Roll in remaining coconut; place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and freeze until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. May be frozen for up to 2 months.

Scallops with Cauliflower, Dried Cherries, and Capers

Ingredients

5 cups small cauliflower florets (from 1 large head)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 9-ounce package fresh spinach leaves
1 large shallot, finely chopped, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
6 large sage leaves, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons drained capers

Directions

1. Cook cauliflower florets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer cauliflower to bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach and toss until just wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach to sieve set over large bowl and drain well. Reserve pot. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in reserved pot. Add half of shallot; saute 1 minute. Sprinkle cauliflower with cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add to pot and toss to coat. Add spinach and toss until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide vegetables among 6 plates.

3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; sear until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Place 1 scallop on each plate. Melt butter in same skillet. Add half of shallot and last 3 ingredients. Cook until butter starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Spoon over scallops and serve.

Amazingly Delicious Toffee

Ingredients

1 cup unblanched (skin on) whole almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 oz.) package milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Directions

1. Toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes (stir after each minute). On foil-lined baking sheet, arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 13×9 inches. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.

2. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry wooden spoon till butter is melted.

3. Continue cooking and stirring for approx. 7-10 min. till candy is the color of the brown skin of the almonds; it will start smoking slightly. Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy. Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in a tightly covered container in cool place or refrigerator.

Candy Cane Blossoms

Yields approximately 35 cookies.

Ingredients

1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar

Directions

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Cookie Dough Cocoa

Ingredients

Cocoa
4 tablespoons
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pint cookie dough ice cream
5 cups water

Toppings
Whipped cream
Mini chocolate chips
1 cup Cookie Crisp® cereal

Directions

1. In 3-quart saucepan or large pot, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and ice cream over medium-high heat until melted. Add the water; cook and stir mixture until steaming.

2. Serve in mugs, topped with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and cookie crisp cereal.

Pork Chops with Herb Stuffing

Ingredients

1 cup cubed (3/8 inch) rustic bread, without crusts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion, and 3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon mixed chopped parsley and thyme
2 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (9 ounces each), cut horizontally to the bone
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast bread cubes on a baking sheet until golden, about 7 minutes. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add celery; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Reserve skillet. Toss bread, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, and 3 tablespoons stock with onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stuff chops. Using a fork, mix and mash garlic, 2 teaspoons coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil; rub onto pork. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes; flip, and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until pork registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate; cover.

3. Add sherry and 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced by half. Serve with pork.

Ham and Cheese Potato Skins

Ingredients

3 whole Russet potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
1 cup of thick cut ham, cut into bite sized cubes
2 cups of Colby jack cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.

2. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise, into three segments of one potato, long slices. So each potato will yield two skins, right? Discard the middle slice and reuse for breakfast the following morning, or heck for that matter, add some butter, salt, and cream, and make some rustic mashed potatoes.

3. Continue this cutting process with the rest of the potatoes. You should then have 10 skins. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.

4. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high.

5. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.

6. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.

Sweet Potato Casserole

YIELD: 8 servings

Ingredients

3 ½ pounds fresh sweet potatoes (about 5 medium)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE TOPPING
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the sweet potatoes, prick them with a fork and place on baking sheet. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 75-90 minutes or until they are cooked through. Allow potatoes to cool slightly until they are comfortable to touch.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, set aside.

3. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the insides into a large mixing bowl, discard skins.

4. Add sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, butter, milk, and vanilla to the sweet potatoes. Use an electric mixer and combine until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and smooth.

5. Scoop mixture into prepared casserole dish, smoothing the top into an even layer.

6. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

Crust:
30 peppermint creme-filled chocolate cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup low fat sour cream
4 large eggs, room temperature

Glaze:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tbs non hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup low fat sour cream, room temperature
crushed candy canes (about 3, large)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor – add cookies and process until they form crumbs. With the processor running, pour in the melted butter and salt – process just until combined. Press the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan lined with foil – evenly pressing to cover the bottom completely.

3. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t allow the bowl to touch the water) – stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream and mix well, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until incorporated. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

5. Pour the filling evenly over the crust and smooth the top. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to begin cooling.

6. Add chocolate, butter and corn syrup to a small sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir the chocolate mixture until melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cheesecake. When the glaze has almost set sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the top. Let cool completely and then refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Note: I’m always looking for ways to cut out a few calories when I can and found that using lower fat cream cheeses and sour cream does not alter the quality of the dessert for me. With these lower fat ingredients we still produced rich, decadent and delicious desserts!

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients

2 – 4 chicken breasts, split in half
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup parsley

Directions

1. Take the chicken breast and hold your hand on top of it. Slice it in half. Lay the chicken pieces between two sheets of wax paper. And then beat the crap out of it until it is very thin.

2. Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Season the eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then completely coat in the breadcrumbs.
I like to line a baking sheet with foil and lay the chicken breasts out. You can keep these in the fridge for a few hours until you are ready to cook them.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat, and melt a few tablespoons of butter and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let this get hot, test by dropping some breadcrumbs into the pan, when it sizzles, it is ready. Cook each side for about 3 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Keep these in a very low oven, 300 degrees, while you work on the sauce.

4. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, and capers. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add a pat of butter to mellow out the sauce. Check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice or pasta and some green vegetables.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 10

Ingredients

2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 recipe Butter Glaze
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
1 recipe Meringue Buttercream

Butter Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk

Chocolate Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Meringue Buttercream
Yield: Makes 3 cups, enough for one 2- or 3-layer cake or about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.

3. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze
1. Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.

2. Repeat step 1; glaze remaining cupcakes. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating.

Chocolate Glaze
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Scald the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

2. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

3. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dripped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up. Allow glaze to set before decorating.

Meringue Buttercream
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan. Boil the syrup, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization, until the syrup registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry peaks form.

3. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl (to prevent splattering) into the egg whites in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until the steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, piece by piece. Add vanilla; beat until smooth and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes. If it looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth.

Go Next To See Recipe 5: Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Gingerbread Roulade With Maple Whipped Cream and Candied Pecans

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients

For cake:
4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. molasses, preferably dark
Powdered sugar
Maple Whipped Cream (see recipe)
Make Candied Pecans (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Note: To flavor the cream, you can use maple syrup or extract, or maple oil. Oil is a good option if you want to buy just enough flavoring for a particular recipe. The small bottles hold only a teaspoon or so.

1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tsp. maple extract, or ¼ tsp. maple oil (see Note)
¼ cup powdered sugar

Candied Pecans
Yield: Makes 1 cup

1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move rack to center.

2. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to fit the bottom of a 10- by 15-inch rimmed jellyroll pan and spray with cooking spray.

3. Beat together egg whites and cream of tartar, slowly at first, then gradually increasing the speed to high until whites hold stiff peaks when the beater is lifted. Set aside.

4. In small bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

5. Beat together egg yolks and brown sugar until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and molasses, then flour mixture.

6. Stir one-third of the beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites, using a gentle stroke that brings batter up from the bottom of the bowl and folds it over the surface. Repeat, turning the bowl, until no streaks remain. Gently spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until cake springs back lightly when touched.

7. While the cake is baking, sprinkle powdered sugar over a tea towel. When the cake is done, run a knife around the edge to make sure it’s loose, then quickly invert it onto the towel. Peel off the paper. Then, starting from the short side, roll cake and towel. Place seam side down on a wire rack until cool.

8. Meanwhile, make whipped cream (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
9. Beat the heavy cream with maple syrup and powdered sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Candied Pecans
10. In saucepan, stir together pecans and syrup over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

11. Coat a plate with cooking spray and spread pecans on it to cool.

Go Next To See Recipe 4: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Go Back To See Recipe 2: Sparkling Ginger Stars

Sparkling Ginger Stars

Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 (3.25-oz.) jar coarse sparkling sugar (see note)

Directions

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until blended.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Beat in molasses, egg yolk, lemon rind, grated ginger, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture; beat just until blended.

3. Shape dough into a ball, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a round disk; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 2 1/2 hours until firm.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, 1 section at a time, to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into star shapes, using a 4″ cookie cutter. Place 1/2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Whisk together 1 egg and whipping cream; brush egg wash lightly over cookies. Sprinkle heavily with sparkling sugar.

6. Bake at 325° for 17 minutes or until cookies are puffed and slightly darker around edges. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove with parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Click Back To See Recipe 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Linzer Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Powdered sugar

Directions

1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer; gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Cover and chill 1 hour.

3. Roll each portion to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 3-inch star-shaped cutter. Cut centers out of half of cookies with a 1 1/2-inch star-shaped cutter. Place all stars on lightly greased baking sheets.

4. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes; cool on wire racks. Spread solid cookies with jam; sprinkle remaining stars with powdered sugar. Top each solid cookie with a hollow star.

Lattice Top Peach Pies in a Jar

Ingredients

for the crust
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup ice water

for the peach filling
8 – 10 medium peaches
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for top of pie
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground instant tapioca (I use my coffee grinder)

Directions

for the crust
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Quickly chop up the cold butter, and pulse it into flour mixture, several times. Drizzle in the ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times, just until the dough is combined.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Divide into 2, flatten dough into discs, and wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile prepare the filling.

for the peach filling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well. Liberally butter 8 – 10 4 oz. glass canning jars.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. In your sink, prepare a large bowl with an ice bath. When the water is boiling, quickly immerse the peaches in the water, remove to the ice water, and peel off the skins. Slice the peaches in 1/2” thick slices.

In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt, and tapioca. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough discs. For the bottom crusts, cut out a 5” square, and press into the jar. For the tops, use a jar to press out a circle, and, with a sharp knife, cut it into 1/4” strips. Carefully arrange the peach slices in the jars and spoon in several tablespoons of the liquid filling. Weave your lattice (see this great tutorial), and crimp the edges. Sprinkle the top of each little pie with 1/2 teaspoon or so of sugar.

Place prepared pies onto heated cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet, turn the heat down to 350 degrees, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes, until crust is light golden and filling is bubbling vigorously.

Allow pies to cool completely and serve, or keep covered with a lid for up to three days.

Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark

Ingredients

4 cups of mini marshmallows
¼ cup whiskey
1 cup caramel (recipe follows)
1 cup of spiced bacon crumble

Bacon Crumble
16 oz bacon
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoon water
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Caramel Filling
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoon butter
7 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

1. Place chocolate in a bain marie or in a heat-proof bowl above simmering water. Heat on low until chocolate is melted. Pour half of melted chocolate into parchement-lined pan. Then using an offset spatula, spread chocolate until smooth. Transfer pan to freezer to chill for about 5 minutes or until melted chocolate becomes solid.

2. Place marshmallows in a large saucepan and heat until marshmallows starts to just melt and forms web-like strands when stirred. (See picture). Remove from heat and add in 5 tablespoons of whiskey; stir to combine. Spread marshmallow mixture over solid chocolate layer. (To easily spread the marshmallow to an even layer, spray offset spatula with non-stick spray.)

3. Pour caramel on top of marshmallow layer. Then, using an offset spatula, spread caramel until smooth. Transfer pan to freezer to chill for about 5 minutes or until caramel becomes slightly hardened. Pour remaining half of chocolate over caramel layer and, using an offset spatula, spread chocolate until smooth. Sprinkle and gently press bacon crumble into chocolate, Return fully assembled bark to refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes or until bark becomes solid. Bring bark to almost room temperature before cutting.

Bacon Crumble
1. Cook bacon and set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, coarsely crumble bacon with hand; set aside and heat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Place sugar and water in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved. Toss crumbled bacon in sugar syrup to coat. Pass coated bacon through a strainer to drain excess sugar syrup.

3. Add egg white to a bowl and beat until fluffy and foamy. Add in black pepper and cayenne. Whisk to combine. Add in crumbled bacon and toss to coat.

4. Spread coated, crumbled bacon on a parchment lined bakesheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then crumble bacon one last time.

Caramel Filling
1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly.

2. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and heavy cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

Roast Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

1 x 2 to 3-lb / 1 1/3-kg farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp minced thyme (optional)
Unsalted butter to taste
Dijon mustard to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450F / 230C. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird.

2. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs are tied close to the body, and the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
Next, salt the chicken with about 1 tbsp of salt – I like to rain the salt over the bird so it has a nice, uniform coating that will results in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin. When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

3. Place the chicken i na saute pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone – I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter, you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the juices run clear. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if desired, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

4. Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oyster, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded there, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip – until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s reward.

5. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each half. The preparation is not meat to be super elegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but you’ll finish with your fingers because it’s so good.

Simple Cream Cheese Danish

Ingredients

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 8oz package of cream cheese at room temp.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sour cream
Optional: pie filling or fruit preserves of your choice

Icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp softened butter

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Open the crescent rolls carefully to avoid unrolling or tearing the dough. You’ll need to leave it n it’s cylindrical shape. Slice the dough into pieces about 1/4 inch thick (as though you’re slicing cookie dough). Place the slices on a cookie sheet and press the center in to make an indentation for the cream cheese filling.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, white sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and sour cream. Add a dollop of the mixture to the indentation you made in each circle of dough. I find that about a tbsp works well, but you can use as little or as much as you like. If you like fruit with your danish, you can also add it to the rolls before the cream cheese mixture. (I like cherry pie filling or blackberry preserves, personally.) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

4. While the danish are baking, you can make a quick royal icing to drizzle over the tops. Mix together the confectioner’s sugar, milk and butter in a small bowl. You can use a spoon to drizzle it over the tops of the danish, or you can put it into a small zip-top bag and snip of the corner for an easy “piping bag.” Take the danish out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes before icing.

5. Voila! Cream cheese danish without leaving the house or breaking a sweat.

Butterfinger Brownies

Ingredients

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
16 (.65 ounce) Butterfinger candy bars, chopped (or just use 10.4 ounces total)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil; grease the foil.

2. Melt chocolate in glass bowl in the microwave- short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk those in too. Stir in the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour. Stir in chopped butterfingers (reserving about 3/4 cup for the top).

4. Spread batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved butterfinger chunks.

5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

6. Refrigerate until brownies are well-chilled- if overnight, cover with plastic wrap. When ready to cut, remove from the refrigerator and turn onto a cutting board. Carefully peel off the foil and use another cutting board to flip the brownies back upright. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into squares.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1 (18 ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1 stick of butter, room temperature

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract.

2. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar.

3. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Classic Swedish Meatballs & Yankee Magazine Lost & Vintage Recipes Giveaway

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

For the meatballs:
3 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 small sweet onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
2 large eggs
a handful parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound ground beef

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 cups reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half cream

Directions

1. Break bread slices into small pieces and put in a medium bowl. Pour milk over bread and toss with your hands to moisten evenly. Set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon butter with 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt until translucent, about 4 minutes. Toss in the garlic, stir for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat.

2. Drain excess milk from bread, squeezing lightly. Add to the bowl of a standing mixer (or if using a hand-held mixer, leave in bowl). Add onion and garlic mixture, pork, eggs, parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper and beat until smooth, 3 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally as you go. When mixture is smooth, break ground beef into very small pieces and stir just until evenly distributed.

3. Roll the meat mixture into balls with your hands and set aside.

4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large (ideally at least 14-inch) pan over medium heat. Add a batch of balls to pan and cook, turning frequently with tongs, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. When the first batch is done, put in a deep dish and cover with foil. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and brown second batch of meatballs. Repeat as needed; transfer all the meatballs to the deep dish while you make the gravy.

5. Increase heat under pan to medium-high. If your pan has some drippings, add 2 tablespoons of butter; if not use 3. Add flour and salt and whisk; the mixture will be crumbly. Add broth 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Add half and half at end and stir well. Lower heat to low, add the meatballs back to the pan and allow to cook another 5 minutes.

Hawaiian Carrot Cake

Ingredients

Hawaiian Carrot Cake
1 cup (250 mL) chopped canned pineapple
4 cups (1 L) grated carrot
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) nutmeg
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups ( 300 mL) golden brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk

Coconut Icing
2 pkgs (250 g each) regular cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (50 mL) sour cream or natural yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2½ cups (625 mL) sifted icing sugar
1 cup (250 mL) sweetened flaked coconut

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray or oil two 9-inch (1.5-L) round cake pans.
Finely chop drained pineapple, place in a sieve and press with a spoon to remove as much juice as possible. Grate carrots using a food processor. Measure out 4 cups (1 L) and set aside. Place flour in a large bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until blended.

2. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat on medium for about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, then vanilla. Beating on low speed, add about a third of flour mixture and beat just until mixed, followed by half the milk. Repeat additions, ending with flour. Batter will be very thick. Gradually mix in pineapple and carrots.

3. Divide between pans. Spread to pan sides. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until centres seem set when lightly tapped, from 40 to 45 minutes. Place on a baking rack to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on racks. It’s best to bake cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.

4. Cut cream cheese into chunks. Place butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in cream cheese, piece by piece. Beating too much will cause thinning. Add about a third of the icing sugar and beat on low until just mixed in. Scrape sides of bowl and beaters occasionally. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating just until smooth. If too thick or thin, work in a little sour cream or sugar. Remove about a quarter of the icing to be used on top cake layer and set aside. Stir coconut into the remaining icing.

5. Slice cakes horizontally in half. Place top of 1 cake, dome-side down, on a platter. Spread with a third of the coconut icing leaving a narrow border of cake around edge. Lay the bottom of that cake, cut-side down, on top. Spread with half the remaining coconut icing, leaving a narrow cake border. Top with the bottom half of the second cake, cut-side down. Spread with the remaining coconut icing, leaving a cake border. Top with the fi nal layer, cut-side down. Spread with plain icing right to the edges. Garnish with toasted, fresh coconut. Best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.