Posts Tagged recipe

Baby Brioche Recipe

Before I attempt anything crazy like croissants, I though it wise to try my hand at a few simpler breads first.

Brioche is one of those breads I’ve seen used to make fancy french toast or bread pudding on TV, but I’ve never come across it in any of my local spots. I’d heard its a sweet, eggy, dense bread with a funny round puff on top that is generally cooked in a big fluted pan.

Three things pushed me over the edge to give it a go at home:

  1. These adorable mini-brioche pans (mama is the traditional one in the back)
  2. Cooking Light December 2010 Issue staring at me with a lightened up recipe for brioche rolls.
  3. This awesome Taylor Digital Measuring Cup Scale that my sis gave me for Christmas (just had to test it out and it worked like a charm!)

The recipe made way more dough than I needed for my 6 cute tins. Not to worry, I just put the extra dough in muffin tins and they actually turned out really similar!

Be forewarned, its not a difficult recipe, but there are several very LONG waiting periods.  I would suggest starting the dough the day before you want to eat it! It’s really an exercise in patience, not baking.

Here’s the recipe:

Baby Brioche Rolls

1 package of dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
1/3 c. warm 1% milk (heated to 100°F)
15.75 oz. flour (3 ½ cups)
1/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ½ tbsp.  unsalted butter, softened and cubed
Cooking Spray
1 tbsp. water
1 egg

Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Let the yeast dissolve for 5 min.

Add flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the milk mixture. Beat on low speed until smooth and scrape the bowl as needed.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and use it to knead the dough on low for 5 minutes. (It will look soft and elastic and the dough will begin pulling away from the bowl)

Add half of the butter at a time to the dough. Mix on medium after each addition until incorporated.

Knead the dough in the mixer for an additional 4 minutes until smooth and elastic again. Mine was pretty sticky at this point.

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should double in size and two fingers pressed into the dough leave an indention that doesn’t spring back.

Punch the dough down, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 8 hours or until morning.

Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature (90 minutes).

Divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Cut the dough portion into 6 equal pieces and roll them into a 1.5 in ball.  Place into sprayed muffin tins and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Mix water and egg white and gently brush the top of each roll with the mixture. This is what gives you the pretty golden outside!

Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 14 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Serve with butter because it tastes amazing that way!

These are totally worth the wait.  I microwaved a little butter and spread it over each one. They were fluffy, sweet, buttery, soft in the middle and chewy on the outside!  The fluff in the center slipped over to one side on several of them, so I will skip that part when I make them again.


Sunshine in a Glass

In honor of my FL Gators playing my next favorite, SC Gamecocks, Jason and I whipped up a cocktail to demonstrate our loyalties. You’ll note its orange, and contains fresh squeezed Florida Tangerine juice. Sorry Carolina, you’ll always be my #2.

Here’s the sunshiney goodness:

3 oz fresh squeezed Florida Tangerine Juice (sub OJ if you want)
3 oz pineapple juice
¾ oz Vodka
¾ oz Triple Sec (or orange liquer)
¾ oz Peach Schnapps

Shake and serve over plentiful ice in a tall glass. Or you can split it between two martini glasses like we did.


1 Dough, 2 Herb & Fruit Cookies

Ok, ok. I know my blog is called ” The BakeCakery” and that there hasn’t been a whole lotta caking going on lately.  I will remedy that sometime soon, but I assure you that there has been plenty of baking.   I want to share 2 amazing cookie recipes with you. They start with the same basic dough, both contain fruit & herbs (stick with me here…) and the end result is two incredibly unique, insanely tasty cookies.  In fact, my sweet cookie-loving husband said these were “better than chocolate chip” – Now that’s love!

Basic Dough

1 stick butter, softened
¾ c. confectioners sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream together the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until just incorporated.  Form a ball from the dough and cut it in half.

Sage, Apricot, Cornmeal Thumbprints

makes 20 cookies

½ basic dough recipe
1/3 c. corn meal
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. lemon zest, chopped fine
¾ c. apricot preserves
20 small sage leaves

Add the corn meal, dried sage and lemon zest to the dough and mix until distributed.  Form cookies into 1 in balls and press flat with your thumb.  Place a sage leave on top of each indention and cover with a tablespoon of apricot preserves.  Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Cranberry & Rosemary Cookies

makes 20 cookies

1/2 basic dough recipe
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, grated
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2o rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Add nutmeg, cranberries and chopped rosemary to the other 1/2 of the dough.  Mix until distributed.  Form into 1 in. balls and press lightly. Top each cookie with a rosemary sprig. Bake at 350 for 14-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

I’m not sure I can really describe the taste of these. They are unlike any cookies I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot of cookies.  The sage one has an extra crunch from the cornmeal, but the caramelized jam also gives it a chewy, sticky quality.  The rosemary ones look like and have the texture of a chocolate chip cookie but they taste like winter!  Here are some photos Jas took as they were coming out of the oven:


Recipe Rework: Move over Martha

Here is the long-awaited reworked version of Martha’s Peanut, Caramel and Chocolate Tart. As I was doing the calorie math on my version – I realized I left off the calories and fat of 1.5 cups of heavy cream in the original.  While my changes didn’t magically turn this into health food, you can now eat two pieces for the price of one. Here’s the side by side comparison:

Martha’s Tart My Version
Calories 1064 633
Fat 81g 34g
Sat. Fat 39g 18g

Unnecessary butter was eliminated in the crust in favor of an egg white to hold it all together.  Heavy cream in the filling was replaced with an instant pudding and whipped topping mousse. The caramel is now easier and much safer (always a plus) and has a richer buttery flavor.  Finally, I left some of the cream out of the ganache which didn’t affect the flavor, but made a big dent in the calories. If you wanted to get really excited, you could use sugar free jello and cool whip and reduced fat peanut butter.

Snicker’s Tart (Amy’s Version)


12 chocolate graham cracker sheets
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 egg white
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350º. Pulse graham crackers, granulated sugar, egg white and melted butter in the food processor until crumbs form. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-in. spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.

Caramel Sauce

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. roasted peanuts

Stir together the sugar, cream and honey and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown and bubbly (temp reaches 230F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and peanuts. Let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully pour onto the baked crust and let cool. (Easy, delicious and safe!)

Peanut Butter Mousse

1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup skim milk
1 (16 ounce) container frozen lite whipped topping, thawed
3/4  c. creamy peanut butter

Beat milk and pudding mix until dissolved. Add in peanut butter and whip until blended. Add the whipped topping and beat until incorporated. Gently spread peanut butter mouse over caramel in an even layer and refrigerate 30 minutes.


1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream

Place chocolate and cream in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on half power  for 1 minute increments, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted and cream incorporated. Remove tart from refrigerator, and pour in ganache to cover surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze and then thaw slightly before serving.


Roasted Tomato Pasta Recipe

My family loves Italian food, so we are always making yummy pasta dishes. My sister introduced me to this delicious recipe a few years ago.  It is really simple, but somehow you end up with a very flavorful sauce that is even better than the sum of its parts.  Add in some diced grilled chicken breast and a slice of garlic bread and you have a savory, budget friendly dinner!

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Serves 6

3 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½  tsp. salt
½  tsp. pepper
1 bag fresh spinach
16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or angel hair
½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ c. fresh basil, chopped
¼ c. pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1 c. chicken, cooked & diced (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400º. Toss the tomatoes,vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and spread onto a non-stick cookie sheet.

Roast the tomatoes for 25 minutes until they are lightly browned and wrinkled. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. When the tomatoes are ready, scrape every last bit from the cookie sheet into a large bowl and add the spinach. Toss in the pasta, cheese and basil. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cubed chicken if desired.

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Fall Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe

Cooking with seasonal ingredients is both festive and good on the wallet.  I grabbed 3 lbs of gorgeous Gala apples for $1.99 at the grocery store and contemplated how to best use them.  Just so happened that I also got 10 tubs of cream cheese for free with this coupon and that we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Perfect storm for the birth of this cheesecake!

I’ve seen recipes for Caramel Apple Cheesecakes before, but after hunting and reading reviews, none of them looked like the one I wanted to eat.  So, I combined this recipe for NY cheesecake, with this recipe for caramel, made up the crust and the apple mixture as I went.

The cake literally came out exactly how I envisioned in my head – THAT NEVER HAPPENS! In case you have some apples and cream cheese on hand, here is my collective recipe:


16 Cinnamon Graham Cracker Sheets (tip: if you can’t find the cinnamon ones, use regular + ½ tsp. cinnamon + ½ tsp. sugar)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Toss the graham crackers in the food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and pulse again until incorporated.  Coat a 9″ Springform pan with cooking spray and press the crust into the bottom and up the sides as far as it will go. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Apple Filling:

8 Gala Apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tbsp. butter
¼ c. water
½ c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon  (tip: add a sprinkle of any fall spices you like – ginger, all-spice, cloves etc. would all be yummy)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. honey

Heat the butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add the diced apples and cook until the apples are soft but still hold their shape and start to brown on all sides.  De-glaze the pan with water. Immediately add the remaining ingredients and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce thickens on the apples.

Cheesecake Filling:

(tip: this makes a VERY tall cheesecake)
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 ½ c. sugar
¾ c. milk
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ c. all-purpose flour

Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Blend in milk, and mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Add in sour cream, vanilla and flour. Beat until smooth. Pour a cup of the  filling into prepared crust. Sprinkle apples and sauce evenly over the filling.  Top with the remaining filling, completely covering the apples. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 3 hours to prevent cracking. (tip: this is a must! it works beautifully)

Caramel Topping:

1 c.+ 2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c.+ 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
tsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together the sugar, cream, honey and corn syrup and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown and bubbly (temp reaches 230F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Let cool for 10 minutes.  Carefully pour onto the center of your cooled cheesecake and allow to spread out uniformly. Continue to cool for 1 hour to let the caramel set.

Store the cheesecake in the fridge and drizzle the slices with any extra caramel sauce.

If your cheesecake pan is short or you just like a more-apple-than-cheesecake ratio, you could easily half the cheesecake filling and it still would be delicious!


Smoked Almond Turtles Recipe

I whipped these up for Jason one day on a whim using my favorite caramel recipe and Emerald smoked almonds that I got really cheap with coupons.  Sweet + salty + smokey + chocolaty= WIN!


1 c. smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1 c. milk or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ c. caramel

Coat a mini muffin tin with a good dose of cooking spray, butter or shortening. (tip: cut a 1/2″ x 3″ strip of of parchment paper and set in the bottom of the cup for “handles” to remove the turtles with later) Sprinkle the smoked almonds evenly among each cup (~2 tsp. each).  Prepare the caramel as directed below and while hot, cover the almonds with about 1 tbsp. of caramel per cup. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Microwave chocolate chips on half power for 1 minute. Stir and then continue microwaving in 30 sec increments until melted and smooth. Drizzle about 2 tsp. of chocolate over each turtle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  Pop out of tins, arrange on a platter or in a little gift box and enjoy
(makes 24 turtles)

My favorite soft chewy caramel of all time that I use for everything:

1 c.+ 2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c.+ 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
tsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together the sugar, cream, honey and corn syrup and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown (temp reaches 250F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared muffin tin as directed above.

Recipes adapted from here & here.


Asparagus Swiss Quiche Recipe

UPDATE: This is a tried and true recipe!  I added some action photos and tweaked the instructions a bit to make it easier to understand.

I was going to wait to post this until I had time to make it this weekend and share a picture with you. But if I share it now, you could have it on your plate this weekend instead of in your browser, so here goes!

I’m not a big breakfast eater. Usually I stick to a bowl of cereal – nothing too heavy.  But on weekends, I like taking the time to whip up a batch of scones, an omelet or a BLT once in a while.   There’s just something relaxing about making a mess in the kitchen on Saturday morning and then sharing a delicious meal with the people you love.

Quiche is one of those things that many people order out, but are intimidated to make at home.  My favorite recipe is both easy and it tastes so heavenly you will look forward to Saturdays from now on!  There are a few shortcuts you can take to make it faster, or if you are en experienced cook or want to experiment you can opt for the all homemade method. Look for little tips throughout my recipes that you can apply in your kitchen too!


¼ c. Parmesan, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
1 ⅔ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into ¼ in. pieces
2 tbsp. solid vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. ice water

Pulse the first 6 ingredients in a food processor several times until small uniform granules form.  (What, you don’t have a food processor?  OK fine, mix with a fork or pastry cutter forever and you’ll get the same result).  Add water and pulse until just incorporated. Form into a ball, cover and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out. (time saver: use a refrigerated store-bought crust and add in the Parmesan and basil as you roll it out instead)

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 425F. Roll out your pie crust to a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. (tip: to transfer from work surface to pan, roll the dough up around the rolling pin, move it and then unroll right where you need it. This will prevent stretching or holes from forming during transport.) Place the pie crust in your pie pan and form it up the sides. Line the crust with heavy duty foil and bake for 8 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 5 min.


3-4 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled (tip: I cook a whole pack of bacon in advance on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  10-15 min in the oven at 375F, drain on paper towels and you have perfectly crisp bacon without the splatter!  Use the leftovers on salads or in other recipes. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge )
¼ c. Parmesan, grated
2 tsp. dried basil
½ c. onion, chopped
5 eggs (or 1 ¼ c. of egg substitute)
½ c. milk
Pinch of nutmeg (tip: buy dried Nutmeg whole and then grate it right when you need it – stays fresh!)
⅛ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. Swiss cheese, grated
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
12 spears of Asparagus trimmed to 5 inch spears. Chop remaining ends into ¼ in. thick medallions.

While the crust is baking, cook onions, asparagus medallions and tips on medium heat until tender. Separate the tips and reserve for later. Toss the Swiss cheese and flour together and then combine with all the filling ingredients, including the onions and asparagus medallions. Pour the mixture into your half-baked pie crust and then lay the asparagus tips on top in a wheel pattern from the center of the quiche. Reduce the oven temp to 350F. Bake for 35 minutes and allow to cool for 10 more if you can wait that long!