Archive for July 18th, 2006

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes


8 oz. cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 c. sugar

1/8 t. salt

Stir well, add 1 c. chocolate chips and set aside

Mix together:

3 c. flour

2 c. sugar

½ c. cocoa

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

Add to dry ingredients, beating well:

2 c. water

2/3 c. oil

2 T. vinegar

2 t. vanilla

Pour batter into lined muffin pan. Top each with 1 T. cream cheese mixture. Top with sugar and chopped nuts if desired. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

This cake is amazingly tart and sweet at the same time.

Lemon Lovers Pound Cake
From the 2004 Taste of Home Annual Cookbook

1 c. butter, no subs
3 c. sugar
6 eggs
5 T. lemon juice
1 T. lemon peel, grated
1 t. lemon extract
3 c. AP flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 c. sour cream.

1/4 c. sour cream
2 T. soft butter
2 1/2 c. powd. sugar
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. grated lemon peel

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one; Stir in lemon juice, peel and extract; Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat until just combined. Pour into greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. For icing, beat sour cream and butter until blended, gradually add confectioners sugar then beat in lemon juice and peel. Drizzle over cake. Store in refrigerator.

Every year at Christmas my Mom would make these sinfully rich, decadent bars. I make them for our Christmas still, kudos to my Mom’s memory

Three Layer Bars


½ c. (1 stick) butter

¼ c. granulated sugar

5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. graham cracker crumbs (from 32 square crackers)

1 c. coconut

½ c. chopped almonds


¼ c. (½ stick) softened butter

2 tbsp. vanilla instant pudding mix

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. powdered sugar


2/3 c. (4 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp. butter

Prepare the base layer: Melt the ½ cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the granulated sugar and cocoa powder until well blended. Add egg, and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press into an ungreased 9-by 9-inch pan.

Prepare the filling: In the small bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the ¼ cup of softened butter and the pudding mix. Beat in the milk and then the powdered sugar. Spread over the base layer. Chill at least 15 minutes.

Prepare the glaze: Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Remove from heat, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until butter is melted. Allow to cool slightly, then pour and spread over the filling. Refrigerate until set; cut into small bars.

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Risotto (my method with a little help from Cooks Illustrated)

2 T. butter plus 2 T. olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and chopped

2 clove garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

3 c. water plus 3 c. chicken broth, heated but not boiling

2 c. arborio rice

1/2 c. dry white wine (i mostly use Sauv. Blanc, but have used Pinot Grigio also)

1 c. asiago cheese (or half parmesan too) freshly grated

Heat butter and oil in dutch oven. When butter foam subsides, add shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until opaque. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds until very fragrant. Add pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add rice, stir and cook until edges are clear, 4 minutes. Add wine, stir and cook until evaporated. Add 3 c. of the liquid, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to prevent rice from sticking to the pan bottom, usually once every 3-5 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add remaining liquid, about 1/2-1 c. per time, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to keep rice from sticking. This whole process should take anywhere from 25-35 minutes. The rice, when finished should be tender, but still a bit chewy and there should be a fair amount of creamy sauce surrounding it. Stir in half of the cheese and garnish your bowl with the rest. Add some cracked black pepper to taste. Try not to gobble.

Risotto is one of those dishes that tastes pretty good even if it isn’t perfect. The first time I made it, it came out like paste. Although the flavor was OK, the texture was something else! Very gluey and way overcooked. Keep on making it though, no recipe is fool proof the first time, especially this one. Add other veggies when you get better at it and can judge how they would best fit in; mushrooms work really well in risotto, and I have used cauliflower and carrot too. The addition of saffron will make traditional Risotto alla Milanese. I like the red pepper in it because it gives it a really beautiful color. Experiment. Sample. Taste and enjoy.

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