Recently I read a post from Plainsimplelivingblog.wordpress.com . The author’s post was focused on rhubarb and how many rhubarb recipes are riddled with sugar. It brought me back in time…years ago when the boys were little and Tom took Dylan and his dad to Maine for a special fishing trip. I made rhubarb custard bars to welcome them home. I remember vaguely that the recipe had sugar but wasn’t overly sweet.
It was early spring, in May and the rhubarb patch was thriving and ready to pick. I picked the smaller stalks, as they were deep red and I knew were rich in flavor. I stumbled upon a recipe online and decided to surprise Tom with a yummy dessert.
Here is the recipe I made so long ago and I believe that within a day or two, they were long gone but not forgotten. What I love about this recipe is the subtle orange juice sweetener. It does have quite a bit sugar but you could experiment with it to find a balance that would work.
Rhubarb Custard Bars
shared from twosisterstherecipes.blogspot.com
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees lightly oil a 9×13 pan For crust: in stand mixer, or by hand: 2 cups flour 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup cold butter cut into pieces 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt mix together until the texture of frozen peas. press firmly into pan and set aside. for filling: 6 eggs 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 cup orange juice 1/4 cup flour whisk all above ingredients together well… then stir in 3 cups of fresh rhubarb- chopped pour over crust. bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is firm. Cool completely before cutting.
Hopefully your growing rhubarb hasn’t gone to seed so that you can try this! If you try baking these, let me know if you enjoyed them or if you cut the sugar and your results.
I came across this post that I posted last summer and want to share it with you again. This Blueberry Lemon Bundt cake was beyond delicious! Moist, full of plump blueberries and served as dessert and we even treated ourselves to a piece for breakfast one day! Who said you couldn’t have cake for breakfast…why not indulge in this scrumptious treat? I’m going to make it again real soon and look forward to seeing Tom’s face when he tastes it.
This particular day I decided to make a recipe I found on Pinterest for Blueberry Lemon bundt cake. This recipe came from Chew Out Loud.com. The author comments that it could easily serve for breakfast, a snack or dessert. I agree with her whole heartedly, as we had it for dessert but enjoyed it’s rich flavor for breakfast a couple of mornings.
I had planned to buy two pints of blueberries and two fresh lemons at the local fruit/ vegetable stand. All the other ingredients seem to be items bakers usually have on hand. I was ready to create this fantastic cake!
2 3/4 cup all purpose-flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk, I substituted almond milk for this because I’m lactose intolerant and you never would know the difference!
2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
zest of one lemon
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp milk, I used Almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 F and make sure oven rack is in the lowest position. Grease and flour a large bundt pan. In a bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat until blended. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Add buttermilk ( or almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant) to mixture. Fold in flour mixture until combined well. Do not over mix! Fold in blueberries gently. Pour cake mix into bundt pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes and insert sharp knife along pan edge to loosen cake.
While cake is cooling, make the lemon icing. Once the cake is cooled and popped out of pan, drizzle glaze on cake.
It’s that easy! A few minutes of your time equals a scrumptious fruity cake for all to enjoy!
About ten years ago I revamped my recipe collection in a big way. First I threw out my dilapidated recipe box and hauled out recipes that I never used. Second, I found a cute whimsical Susan Branch cookbook kit with scrap booking pages and stickers. The book was cheap enough but cheaply made too, as I found out this year.
Like many housewives who cook everyday, my recipe book started to show wear and tear. Then one day after making a delicious meal for my family, the books’ binding fell apart. I busily shoved it on my little shelf in the kitchen and soon forget it’s desecration. Every time I reached for my recipe collection, the broken book with pages falling out reminded me that I had been doing this awhile and my book couldn’t keep up.
Last week, on an energetic whim, I set my mind to repairing and giving new life to my book. I searched our file cabinet and found a 1 ½ inch binder that one of the boys had used for school. I recycled it at the end of that year and put it in my stash of “ maybe I’ll use that someday.” I’m grateful for that because sometimes I throw things out in an organization fit.
Next I found plastic page protectors to slip all the handwritten and computer copied recipes in. I highly recommend this step because we all know cooking can be messy and can stain and alter our nice cards.
What I especially love about the Susan Branch cookbook kit was that it supplied folders with heading for extra recipes. What I’ve always done is displayed my favorites, family favorites,my mom’s recipes, Tom’s mom and dad’s and meme’s staunch winners on the pages and others can rest in the folders.
I bought the cookbook scrapbooking kit on Amazon but you could do it yourself, if you have the supplies needed. You would need a 1 ½ inch binder, scrapbook pages, stickers, recipe cards, pouches for the miscellaneous recipes and page protectors. If you do buy the scrapbook kit, try to find one with a sturdy binder or buy the binder separately.
Now I can’t wait to cook and use my cookbook, that I gave new life to. It’s the little things that make me happy in the kitchen.
Beat until creamy. Transfer to piping bag or ziploc bag with corner snipped. This is a messy process so keep a damp kitchen cloth handy. To Assemble Cake
This is messy, as well, so do it over a baking sheet to catch crumbs. Flip cake over. Cut 6 or 7 deep holes in the bottom of the cake. Be careful not to go all the way through. This is a challenge but after careful consideration, I successfully did this.
Once the holes are made, using your hands, burrow down and connect the holes to form a tunnel. Be careful not to puncture cake.
Clear the cake from the holes and discard.
Now start filling holes with cream filling. Do not overdo this because cake could burst open.
Once holes are filled, carefully flip cake over. Dust with powdered sugar.
I have never been formerly taught the art of cooking and baking. As a young woman, it never interested me and I only associated it with tireless house wives who considered it a chore. In seventh and eighth grade I had Home Economics classes and that was my first true introduction to it all. We made simple dishes, no bake cookies and rice krispies bars and I have a fleeting memory of cooking pudding on the stove.
My present baking knowledge is from observation of others and from trial and error by myself. I guess it’s true what some people say, that no matter how old you are, life is full of learning opportunities. Recently I wrote a post highlighting my friend Michelle’s exciting career as a baking instructor at King Arthur Flour. I asked her to share some useful baking tips for others and I ended up thoroughly surprised that I didn’t know some of the tricks.
Michelle informed me that most people’s mistakes with baking is using too much flour. People are always asking her why their bread comes out like bricks and pizzas like hard frisbees. The key is using less flour. While many experts will tell you to measure in cups, King Arthur Flour encourages bakers to weigh the flour. A cup of King Arthur Flour weighs 4- 4 ¼ ounces. By weighing flour and not using volume, you’ll be accurate with the amounts.
Another tip Michelle shares is when measuring flour, don’t pack it in the cup. ( if you are still using cups and not weighing) Instead, sprinkle the flour in loosely and level with a knife at the top. When I think of this, I think of the act of packing brown sugar in a cup. You want to do just the opposite because if you pack it, you have too much flour.
I have the King Arthur Baking cookbook and I noticed when browsing recipes, a commonality is the note of avoiding over mixing. I already knew this tip from blueberry muffin recipes. Michelle says to be careful not to overmix cookies, cakes, and muffins. If you mix the batter too much, there will be too much gluten. If you want tender baked goods, DO NOT OVERMIX!
A hint for amateur pie crust bakers, keep your butter cold when adding to your flour mixture. Also Michelle reminds us that using melted butter instead of softened makes a negative difference. For example, when baking cookies make sure you leave out the butter overnight so it softens. Melting the butter will change the consistency. When you cream the butter and sugar you are supposed to put air bubbles in. If you use melted butter instead, it’s very hard to get the air in it. I didn’t know this, amazing fact!
Now that we learned some valuable baking tips…let’s get out there and bake! Use these techniques and see how much better your cakes, cookies and breads are! Share these tips with your family and friends and always have fun in your kitchen!
This weekend I’m baking a chocolate cheesecake for my son’s girlfriend’s birthday and old fashioned whoopie pies shaped like footballs for the Super Bowl. Go New England Patriots!
This is a heartfelt thank you to Michelle for her gift of time for the interview and her kindness.
If anything intimidates me in the kitchen, it’s pie baking. It all starts from mixing the dough perfectly to the rolling step and lastly fitting the crust over the pie. Because of these fears, most of the time I’ve stayed away from pies and baked cakes and cookies instead.
I remember that first pie I crafted. I was 24 and living in our apartment in a tight kitchen place but got this desire to bake an apple pie. I got the recipe from Theo, my mother in law and away I worked. Truthfully it came out magnificent for my first one and received compliments and an empty plate from Tom. The crust came out perfect the first time but it wouldn’t last.
Here is the apple pie recipe Theo shared with me. It makes a delicious pie, using honey!
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon, I use 1 Tbsp cinnamon. It depends on your preference
2 Tbsp corn starch
6-8 medium cooking apples (7 1/2 cups)
1 beaten egg for brushing over crust
coarse sugar to sprinkle atop crust
Place aluminum foil or pie guard around crust for first 30 minutes and remove after that.
Peel and slice apples. Add sugar and honey and spices. Coat with corn starch. Mix all together and place in prepared pie crust. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 F. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are soft.
For years I’ve played the struggle game, mixing and measuring, holding my breath so it wouldn’t fall apart. No matter what I’ve tried it doesn’t come out right. Now 23 years have flown by and I think I got it right. I’m not stating it’s perfect but pretty darn good!
Back in November my mom shared a pie recipe that she had. I was skeptical…every time I’m optimistic about crafting the crust, it becomes a horror show! Yet, I managed to bake a nice pie…with the best pie crust I’ve ever made!
Here is the recipe and believe it or not, it has vinegar as an ingredient!
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup ice water
¾ cup Crisco shortening
Mix flour together with salt and sugar. Add Crisco and work in dough, until crumbly. You can use a pastry blender or two knives. Add vinegar to ½ cup of ice water. Sprinkle a little at a time, moisten and gather dough together. Form two balls in bowl. Roll out on floured surface.
My next challenge is making the crust look halfway decent on the pie. The edges can be difficult but I’m going to practice and see how it goes. There are many decorative edges you can craft, from using a corkscrew, fork, pinching the crust and using the back of a spoon to make different designs.
Do you have trouble with your pie crust? Do you have any little pie crust secrets to share with me?
Every family has a staunch recipe that stands the test of time. It’s the go-to dish that always results in success. It’s passed down with pride and the unspoken agreement that future generations will do the same. My family has this recipe… it was my Grammy Doyle’s dessert recipe and you always could count on her making it at gatherings, whether it was my dad’s birthday or Christmas.
The word was that it was a secret, though I’m not sure of the origin. I’ll never know where my Grammy got it or if it was handed down to her. All I know is that it’s one of the few constants when going to her house and I will never stop associating Grammy with her Mystery Mocha dessert. Now that she is gone, this recipe means even more…a little reminder of what was.
When arriving in the small hamlet of West Fairlee, Vermont, one corner market stood. A traveler would see quaint simple houses. Next to the fire station stood my grandparent’s house on a little hill and when you rolled up the sloped gravel driveway, you spied a screened in porch. Amid dusty chairs sat an old forlorn piano, forgotten and well out of tune. All the grandchildren probably tinkered with the keys at one time or another.
This many years later I can still hear the rickety screen door, as if it was on the set of the television show, The Walton’s. Inside the house you entered in the dining room, where was a huge wooden table that had fed six children at one time and all the visiting relatives through the years. Another prized piano stood beyond, where my Grammy played church hymns on it. This treasure was played often and every once in awhile she played for us.
The living room had wooden exposed beams, a rustic living space with a few windows to let light in. A long old fashioned radio stood on one wall, which belted out many Red Sox games. My Grammy and Grampa would sit and listen to the radio and play by play well into the seventies. Then years later a television stood there as well, but I think it was never the same to them as the play by play. As kids, we would creep over to Gramps, who would be relaxing on the couch and he would grab us and tickle us. Wth a silly grin and rolled up tongue, he was the tickle master. There were squeals of delight because he was fun and loving.
Mystery Mocha cake was often baked for my dad, since it was his favorite. He was her first born, David, and was and still is a chocolate fan. (I think this is where I got my chocolate addiction!) When my parents were married, my mom made it and I’m sure my stepmom makes it as well. Now my sister and I make it from time to time. My sons aren’t used to the rich chocolate taste and since it has coffee in it, they don’t care for it, but my husband likes it well enough and I do too.
It’s as if Grammy’s kitchen comes to life when I make Mystery Mocha, for it’s a family recipe and a reminder of her and our visits to the Doyle house. It does taste the very same, with rich, dark chocolate with a complement of mocha flavor from the double strength coffee. I think it’s more than a recipe but a bit of Grammy’s legacy in every bite!
Grammy Doyle’s Mystery Mocha Cake
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup cold double strength coffee
Mix dry ingredients. Melt the unsweetened chocolate with the butter. Add the milk and vanilla. Put mixture into greased cake pan and top with the following: brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cocoa. Pour cold coffee over the top. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Serve for family or company. I recommend serving this rich dessert with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream!