Gooey Butter Cake

I’m late to the Gooey Butter Cake party but I’m a fan now.  I was curious to see what the hoopla was all about and this cake definitely warrants hoopla.  I used Paula Deen’s recipe which calls for boxed cake mix.  It’s a great way to use up cake mixes before they expire.  After making so many wonderful homemade baked goods, I can’t go back to plain cake mix cakes.

Gooey Butter Cake | Bakewell Junction - gooey, sweet and decadent to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Gooey Butter Cake | Bakewell Junction

I’d read that Gooey Butter Cake is very, very sweet so I used less sugar than the original recipe and it was still really sweet.  I have a sweet tooth the size of Mount Everest but I have to say that this is one sweet cake.  The Gooey Butter Cake originated in St. Louis, Missouri and the bakery version uses a yeast cake instead of a cake mix.  I’ve never had that version, so I can’t compare.

Gooey Butter Cake | Bakewell Junction - gooey, sweet and decadent to satisfy any sweet tooth.I cut the cake into small pieces, about the size of fudge pieces.  There’s no way anyone could eat full size cake pieces of this cake.

Gooey Butter Cake | Bakewell Junction - gooey, sweet and decadent to satisfy any sweet tooth.Enjoy!

Gooey Butter Cake

Yield:  60 – 72 cake pieces                Cook Time:  40 – 50 minutes

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (18 1/4 ounce box)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Step 1:  For the batter:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it.  The parchment will make it easier to take the cake out of the pan after baking.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, beat the cooled melted butter and egg together briefly in a large bowl.  Add the cake mix and beat until combined.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Step 3:  For the batter:  Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy.  Beat in the remaining ingredients except the powdered sugar until combined.  Beat in the powdered sugar in two or three portions.  This will help prevent getting powdered sugar all over the kitchen.  Transfer the filling to the baking pan and spread evenly.

Step 4:  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  I baked for 50 minutes.  The center should still jiggle when you take it out of the oven.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before lifting the cake out of the pan.  Let cake cool completely before cutting.  I cut my cake into 6 by 12 pieces.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

Tips:  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!!!

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Original Gooey Butter Cake.

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Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs

The 4th of July is just a few days away.  These Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs would make a welcome addition to any celebration.  I’ve added red, white and blue sprinkles to help celebrate the July 4th festivities but the sprinkles are totally optional.

Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs | Bakewell Junction - a delicious treat for the Fourth.

Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs | Bakewell Junction

I felt that my Devil Dogs could have used more filling, so I’ve modified the filling recipe to increase the amount of whipped ganache.  I might have to make some of the ganache by itself, so I can eat it with a spoon.

Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs | Bakewell Junction - a delicious treat for the Fourth.Mmm, whipped ganache.

Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs | Bakewell Junction - a delicious treat for the Fourth.Whipped Ganache Devil Dogs

Yield:  15 – 18 cake sandwiches                Cook Time:  12 – 14 minutes

Ingredients:

Cakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whipped Ganache Filling:

  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips (I used Guittard – yum)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Step 1:  For the cakes:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2:  Whisk together the first five ingredients for the cake to combine.  Stir in the remaining three ingredients until moistened.

Step 3:  Transfer the mixture into a large Ziploc plastic bag.  Cut a 1/2 inch from the corner of the bag.  Pipe 3 1/2  by 1 inch logs, about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  There should be approximately 12 per cookie sheet.  Bake 12 – 14 minutes.  The cakes should be firm to the touch.  Cool on wire racks.

Step 4:  For the whipped ganache:  Melt the chocolate chips with all the other ingredients in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Begin by heating the ingredients for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Stir the ingredients.  If the chocolate hasn’t melted, microwave in additional 10 second intervals while stirring in between each one until the chocolate has melted.  Don’t overheat the chocolate.  Alternatively, you could use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.  Stir the mixture until it’s completely combined and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Step 5:  While the ganache cools, place a mixing bowl in the freezer.  When the ganache has completely cooled, transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl and beat on high using an electric mixer.  I used my portable mixer.  The mixture will become much lighter in color and when you see soft peaks, stop mixing.  This whipped ganache is delicious but don’t eat it all with a spoon.

Step 6:  Pair together like sized cakes.  Using a spatula, spread about 2 – 3 tablespoons of the filling on the flat side of one of the paired cakes and top with the second cake, flat side down.  Repeat with remaining cakes.  Serve chilled.

Tips:  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!!!

Cakes adapted from Family Circle.
Whipped Ganache recipe adapted from Simply Gloria, Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Ganache Frosting.

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Sausage Frittata

I never knew that the Sausage Frittatas that my Grandmother and Mom made was anything fancy, it was just the way we cooked our eggs.  We pronounce it freet tata.  Many recipes say that Frittatas include vegetables, cheese or meats and some finish them off in the oven or cover them with a lid but we sometimes make them plain and with a simple process on the stove.

Sausage Frittata | Bakewell Junction - simple and delicious.

Sausage Frittata | Bakewell Junction

I made this Sausage Frittata on Memorial Day and it was delicious.  This recipe was a tradition for Easter mornings while growing up.  We always used my Grandmother’s homemade Italian sausage but she always made the sausage with her Nephew, so none of us learned to make it.  I always regret that.  The only thing that could have made the Frittata better was if I had some of Grandma’s sausage.

The month of May was filled with overtime for work and poison ivy.  I pulled out some poison ivy and thought that the poison ivy scrub would wash it all away.  Well, that didn’t happen and I managed to spread it everywhere.  Some new patches were still showing up after three weeks.  Did you ever feel like you wanted to scratch your skin right off?  Finally Rx steroid cream and Benedryl got rid of it.  I almost canceled having my family over for Mother’s Day because the itching was so bad.

By Memorial Day most of the itching had subsided and the hubby and I went to our friends and neighbors for a cookout.  Since we couldn’t go empty-handed, the hubby prepared a shrimp cocktail platter and I made Double Stuff Oreo Ice Cream Cake, Sour Cream Coffee Ultimate Crumb Cake and Ghirardelli Brownies to bring along with us.  Needless to say, we were the hit of the party.  I even took some of the Ultimate Crumb Cake (it’s a big cake) to work and they devoured it before lunch.  Why not bring one of these cakes to the next cookout you’re invited to?

Sausage Frittata | Bakewell Junction - simple and delicious. Enjoy!

Sausage Frittata

Yield:  3 servings                 Cook Time:  8 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a dried sweet Italian sausage, casing removed and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 6 eggs
  • a drizzle of milk or heavy cream, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste or as necessary (I didn’t add any since the sausage added plenty of salt)
  • olive oil for frying, as necessary

Step 1:  In a large frying pan (I used cast iron), place the sausage in a single layer to brown.  As one side becomes brown, turn over the sausage pieces to brown on the other side.

Step 2:  While the sausage browns, beat eggs in a large bowl.  If desired, beat in a drizzle of cream to make the eggs more fluffy and salt and pepper, if using.  After the sausage has browned on both sides, there should be enough oil in the pan from the sausages to cook the eggs but if not, add additional oil. 

Step 3:  Pour the eggs into the pan slowly so the sausage stays in one layer as much as possible.  Cook eggs on medium heat a few minutes until the eggs brown on the bottom and slide in the pan as a whole unit.  To turn over the frittata, place a dinner plate upside down on top of the frying pan, place your hand on the plate bottom and turn the frying pan over so the frittata lands upside down on the plate.  Turn the frying pan right side up again and slide the frittata into frying pan so the other side of the frittata cooks.  When done, transfer the frittata to a serving plate.  Cut in wedges.  The wedges may not be a perfect wedge because the sausage will be difficult to cut.  Serve hot.

Enjoy!!!

Family recipe.

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Chocolate Overload Brookies Surprise

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  March and April seen to have flown by with tons of work deadlines.  I’m taking a little latitude in calling these brookies but these Chocolate Overload Brookies Surprise are so fudgy and chocolaty I couldn’t really call them cookies.  Plus they’re made with a brownie mix.

Chocolate Overload Brookie Surprise | Bakewell Junction - so chocolaty your mouth will pucker.

Chocolate Overload Brookie Surprise | Bakewell Junction

Do you need an excuse to make these?  Does your Mom love chocolate?  These would be great for Mothers’ Day.

Chocolate Overload Brookie Surprise | Bakewell Junction - so chocolaty your mouth will pucker.Originally I intended to use ready-made frosting but it turned out that I didn’t have any chocolate frosting on hand and I’m so glad I didn’t because I found the whipped ganache frosting on Gloria’s site, Simply Gloria.  It was so easy to make.  In addition, I used Guittard Milk Chocolate for the frosting so there would be some color contrast between the brownie, the surprise Oreo truffle center and the frosting.  This is the first time I’ve used this brand of chocolate and let me tell you, it is delicious!

Chocolate Overload Brookie Surprise | Bakewell Junction - so chocolaty your mouth will pucker.The frosting was so good that I will be using in lots of other recipes.

Chocolate Overload Brookies Surprise

Yield:  24 brookies                Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 box Triple Fudge Ghirardelli Brownie Mix (this one has chocolate chips and a fudge packet that goes in the mix)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg

Oreo Truffle Center:

  • 15 Double Stuff Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

Whipped Ganache Frosting:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used Guittard – yum)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, beat brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese and egg about 50 strokes with a spoon until well blended (dough will be sticky).

Step 2:  Drop dough by tablespoonfuls (or divide into 24 pieces of dough; this is what I do to try to keep them the same size) 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet to make 24 cookies.  Smooth edges of each dough piece to form round cookies.  I made thumbprints in the center of each cookie but they puffed up anyway during baking.

Step 3.  Bake each cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are set.  Cool on cookie sheet at least 30 minutes.

Step 4:  For the truffles:  While the brookies bake crush the Oreos in a mini chopper or food processor.  Alternatively, you can crush the Oreos in a food storage bag with a rolling pin.  Add the Oreos and softened cream cheese to a medium bowl and mix them together until well combined.  Divide the mixture into 24 equal portions and roll into balls.  After the brookies have cooled completely, place a truffle in the center of each.

Step 5:  For the whipped ganache:  Melt the chocolate chips with all the other ingredients in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Begin by heating the ingredients for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Stir the ingredients.  If the chocolate hasn’t melted, microwave in additional 10 second intervals while stirring in between each one until the chocolate has melted.  Don’t overheat the chocolate.  Alternatively, you could use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.  Stir the mixture until it’s completely combined and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Step 6:  While the ganache cools, place a mixing bowl in the freezer.  When the ganache has completely cooled, transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl and beat on high using an electric mixer.  I used my portable mixer.  The mixture will become much lighter in color and when you see soft peaks, stop mixing.  This frosting is delicious but don’t eat it all with a spoon.  Frost the brookies to hide the truffle center.  Serve chilled.

Enjoy!

Tips:  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!!!

Dough recipe adapted from www.pillsbury.com
Whipped Ganache recipe adapted from Simply Gloria, Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Ganache Frosting.

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Pasta e Fagioli and Easter Menu Plan

One of the recipes that was a constant at our dinner table when I was growing up is Pasta e Fagioli or pasta and beans.  You may have heard this dish called pasta fazool but my family calls it pasta e fasuor (pronounced pasta e fazuor).

Pasta e Fagioli | Bakewell Junction - hearty and delicious.

Pasta e Fagioli | Bakewell Junction

You may be accustomed to seeing Pasta e Fagioli recipes as a soup but our family recipe is not a soup.  It’s a hearty and satisfying meal for any time of year.  We also don’t use the cannellini beans but rather great northern beans.  You can substitute with cannellini beans, if you prefer.

So, where do you store your dried beans after opening the package?  I store them in a re-purposed glass jelly jar.

Pasta e Fagioli | Bakewell Junction - hearty and delicious.Most of our family doesn’t eat it regularly like we used to, so I made it for Palm Sunday dinner when my family and my hubby’s family came to over celebrate.

Pasta e Fagioli | Bakewell Junction - hearty and delicious.Want a bite?

Here are some of the other dishes I made for Palm Sunday that would be perfect for your Easter Sunday dinner.  For some reason I always forget to serve at least one thing and this time it was the brownies.

Appetizers:
Homemade Mozzarella
Homemade Pizza
Prosciutto Bread (a.k.a. Lard Bread)
Pizza Rustica (a.k.a. Pizza Chiena)
Roasted PeppersPrimi Piatti:
Manicotti
Pasta e Fagioli
Secondo Piatti:
Roasted Goose
Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana
Gravy Meat (stew meat, braciole, meatballs and sweet Italian sausages)
Contorni (Side Dishes):
Oven Roasted Broccoli
Dolci:
Easter Bread
Chocolate Babka
Brownies (Ghirardelli box mix)

Enjoy!

Pasta e Fagioli

Yield:  4 servings                 Cook Time:  90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb dried great northern beans (about 1 mug or 1 1/2 cups); alternative, 2 15 ounce cans great northern beans, rinsed
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pound dry pasta, a small pasta like Ditalini, Mezzo Ditali or Tubettini, prepared
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups meatless gravy (a.k.a. marinara) or meat gravy
  • grated cheese for sprinkling

Step 1:  Soak all beans in 3 – 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon baking soda overnight in a sauce pot; then drain and rinse well (rinse at least 3 times).

Step 2:  Replace 3 – 4 cups water and add 2 teaspoons salt.  Bring beans to a boil and then lower heat to simmer.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add peeled garlic cloves after piercing with toothpicks (so they float and are easier to pick out).  Cook until beans are tender.  Remove garlic cloves before they start to fall apart.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Prepare pasta as per package directions and drain.  Add pasta and gravy to beans and return to heat on low.  Stir frequently and heat a few minutes until heated through.  Serve

Tips:  Keeps refrigerated for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Family recipe.

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Trc’niegl a.k.a. Zeppole #TwelveLoaves

Have you ever tried the fried dough found at all the Italian feasts?  Our family calls them Trc’niegl (as in the town my Dad and Grandparents came from) but they are generally known as Zeppole.  When made at home they are way better than the ones that are from the feast (not that I turn those away).

Trc'niegl a.k.a. Zeppole | Bakewell Junction - a delicious and addicting treat.

Trc’niegl a.k.a. Zeppole | Bakewell Junction

You’re probably wondering how we pronounce Trc’niegl, so here it is (sorta):  Therch-eh-nee-lyee (the y is pronounced as a consonant not as eye).  There is a more official recipe in the town we came from for making these using potato (I’ll likely share that a another time).  My family never used that recipe and my Grandmother used the same recipe she used for making homemade pizza.  My Grandmother’s recipe was never written down, so now we use my hubby’s pizza dough recipe.

Other differences between Trc’niegl and the well known Zeppole is that we use granulated sugar rather than powdered sugar and we make them into shapes (see the photo below) rather than just a ball shape.  I don’t mind the powdered sugar but I use the granulated sugar when I make them at home.

Trc'niegl a.k.a. Zeppole | Bakewell Junction - a delicious and addicting treat.These can be made any time you want them.  They are a special treat for any family gathering too.

Trc'niegl a.k.a. Zeppole | Bakewell Junction - a delicious and addicting treat.I even ate one with green sugar in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.  Notice the extra sugar on the side for dunking.

In other news, one warm week and the snow and ice has receded wonderfully.  Yay!

Trc’niegl (Zeppole)

Yield:  9 to 10 servings                Cook Time:  4 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1 cup water, warmed to 130 to 140 degrees
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil
  • oil for frying (I used olive oil but it’s not the usual oil used for frying)

Coating:

  • granulated sugar to sprinkle on fried dough (substitutions, powdered sugar as in the Italian feast version)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  Begin by warming a large ceramic bowl by filling it with hot water for a few minutes.  Pour out the water and dry bowl with a clean cloth.  Add 1 3/4 cup of flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the bowl.  Mix combined ingredients.

Step 2:  Heat water to 130 to 140 degrees (or follow the directions on the yeast you’re using) – this is about 1 minute 20 seconds in my microwave in a 1 cup glass measure.  Pour the water around the outside of the flour mixture where it meets the bowl.  With a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients to combine and the dough begins to come together.  If the dough looks overly wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time (but not more than the remaining 1/4 cup flour) and continue mixing until the dough forms a mass.  The dough will be sticky.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the dough ball.  Turn the dough ball over a couple of times so the oil coats it.  Knead the dough for a few minutes.

Step 3.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for one to two hours.  Let the dough rise until doubled.  If using my tip, it will double in 45 to 60 minutes.  If not, it may take 1 to 2 hours.

Step 4:  You don’t need a deep fryer per se, you can use a large and deep sauce pan.  I used a 3 quart sauce pan.  Add oil for frying to be 2 to 3 inches deep in the pan and heat to about 300 degrees.  While the oil heats, prepare a clean workspace and sprinkle liberally with flour.  Sprinkle your hands liberally with flour also.  Divide the dough into 9 or 10 pieces.  For each piece, form it into one of three shapes:  create a rope about 3/4 inch thick and then create a circle, pressing the ends together to attach; create the same rope as before but overlap the ends about an inch from the end so there is a circle with two ends protruding out where they overlapped; create a flat piece of dough that is about 3 inches by 4 inches.  Set the dough shapes on the floured work surface while the oil finishes heating.

Step 5:  Begin frying the dough by carefully placing the first in the oil.  There will be a lot of bubbling and the dough will float to the top after a few seconds.  Add another but do not crowd too much.  Fry for a few minutes until the bottom is a dark golden color.  Turn dough over to fry the other side for a few minutes until the color is dark golden color.  I like to make them dark to be sure that the inside is cooked through.  No one wants a Trc’niegl that has uncooked dough in the middle.  Transfer the cooked dough out of the oil, letting the excess drip off, onto a paper towel lined bowl.  Sprinkle liberally with sugar.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Best served hot but you can follow my tips if you have any left over.

Enjoy!

Tips:  If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.  Leave the oven light on and it will add to the warming effect.  I use this tip even during the warm weather months.
If you have any leftovers, place them in a plastic freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.  When ready to use, defrost one by microwaving for 15 to 20 seconds and then toast in a toaster oven.  If defrosting more than one, increase microwave and toaster oven time.
To simplify, you could substitute store bought pizza dough or frozen white bread dough, instead of making your own dough.  Just defrost and let rise for an hour or two.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Rossella from Ma ch ti sei mangiato, and our theme is Italian Breads.  For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Olive Breads!  Are you a food blogger that would like to be a part of our bread baking group?  Send an email to Lora at:  cakeduchess @ aol.com (all attached).

If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Italian bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

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Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

So what do you make with Meyer Lemon Curd?  Why Meyer Lemon Curd Bars, of course!

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars | Bakewell Junction - sweet and tart deliciousness.

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars | Bakewell Junction

My hubby had been bugging me about the curd.  What are you going to do with the curd?  When are you going to do something with the curd?  And, so on.

I had seen recipes with lemon curd bars using a short bread crust and I have a shortbread recipe that I already like so, I paired that with the curd.  I loved the results.  The hubby still thought the curd was too tart.  I don’t really understand since he adds lemon juice to his fish – oh well.

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars | Bakewell Junction - sweet and tart deliciousness.On another note…  Has anyone had warmer weather lately?  Last week gave us the coldest day yet.  Tuesday started at -13 outside my house and -16 at the park and ride.  Yes, those are minus signs in front of those numbers.  I find that I always feel colder if it’s windy even if the wind chill isn’t as cold as those actual temp numbers above.  We’re getting another few inches of snow today but the weather man says it will be getting warmer this coming week, so hopefully there will be some melting.

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars | Bakewell Junction - sweet and tart deliciousness.

Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

Yield:  16 bars                  Cook Time:  17 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature or softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Meyer Lemon Curd (about 1/2 the recipe)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Step 1:  In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla to the butter mixture.  In another bowl, combine flour and salt.  Add flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Mix on low until dough begins to form.

Step 2:  Line an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil (some of the foil should overlap the rim; you’ll use it to remove the bars) and spray with cooking spray.  Transfer the dough into the baking pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 17 to 22 minutes.  The shortbread is done when it’s golden brown around the edges and lightly golden in the middle.

Step 3:  Remove the pan from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.  Use the aluminum foil to lift the bars out of the pan.  As the bars cool spread the Meyer Lemon Curd evenly across the shortbread.  Let cool completely.

Step 4:  Slice into 2 by 2 inch squares.  Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.  Try not to eat them all at once.

Tips:  Keeps in a sealed plastic container for a week.

Enjoy!!!

Shortbread adapted from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook recipe on Food Network.  A variation of Eli Zabar’s shortbread cookies.

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Meyer Lemon Curd

It’s Meyer Lemon season, so I thought it would be a great change for Valentine’s Day to have Meyer Lemon Curd instead of chocolate.  If you really need to have to have chocolate, fill a mason jar with red M&M’s or try one of my many chocolate recipes.

Meyer Lemon Curd | Bakewell Junction

Meyer Lemon Curd | Bakewell Junction

I’d seen lots of recipes for lemon curd but I didn’t want just any old curd for my first time making it.  So I found this recipe and liked the fact that it was made with honey instead of sugar.  I’m not familiar with paleo diet principles and wasn’t looking for paleo recipes in particular but I liked this recipe and adapted it to fit my tastes.  Hope you like it too.

Meyer Lemon Curd | Bakewell JunctionThat tiny Meyer Lemon you see in the photos is from my Meyer Lemon tree.  The tree doesn’t give enough fruits that are large enough to make curd, so I had to buy them but doesn’t it look cute?

Meyer Lemon Curd | Bakewell JunctionEnjoy!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Yield:  1.5 cups                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest (zest from at least two Meyer lemons)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup honey (I used 2/3 cup to have a sweeter curd; I used local honey); alternatively you could use sugar at about 1/2 cup but that would not be paleo
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed (it took every last bit of 4 Meyer lemons to get this much)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (to keep this as a paleo recipe, use grass fed butter)

Step 1:  Remove the zest from the lemons.  If you have a zester, use that to remove the zest.  I don’t have one because it’s just one more gadget that I don’t have room for.  I used my box grater to remove the zest and it worked just fine.  Be sure not to go below the pigmented part of the rind as the white pith is bitter.

Step 2:  Squeeze the juice out of the lemons.  Since I don’t have a juicer, (the gadget thing again) I rolled each lemon on the counter with the palm of my hand to soften it, cut each lemon in half, removed the pits and used a fork poke and twist the lemon center while squeezing every last bit of juice into a measuring cup until I got to 1/2 cup.

Step 3:  Start heating water in a double boiler to simmering.  Since I don’t have a double boiler (yes, the gadget thing again), I heated the water in a medium sauce pan and when I was ready, I placed a medium bowl over the simmering water.  Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl or the top of the double boiler.  Add the honey and lemon zest and whisk to combine.

Step 4:  Place the bowl or top of the double boiler atop the simmering water.  Whisk continually until the mixture becomes lighter and thickens slightly.  Add the lemon juice and coconut oil/butter in tablespoon increments while whisking constantly.  Continue cooking and whisking 5 to 6 minutes until thickened and smooth.  A candy thermometer or instant read thermometer should read 160 degrees.

Step 5:  Remove curd from heat.  Pass curd through a find strainer into another bowl.  There will be quite a bit of solids remaining in the strainer and this is okay.  Store refrigerated 0in glass jars or bowls.

Tips:  Keeps refrigerated for a week.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Flavour and Savour, How to Make Paleo Lemon Curd.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.  Entered here also:  savvysouthernstyle.net

Tiramisu

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been fighting a nasty sinus infection but I’m starting to feel almost normal.

So, moving on to the deliciousness…

Tiramisu | Bakewell Junction - decadent and easier than easier than you would think.

Tiramisu | Bakewell Junction

I’ve been looking for a great Tiramisu recipe and this one is it.  I made this for some friends early in December and they loved it.  The hubby and I loved it too.  This recipe would work for any special or not so special occasion.

Tiramisu | Bakewell Junction - decadent and easier than easier than you would think.Who wouldn’t want this added to their dessert table.  Trust me, you will be the hit of the party if you bring this with you.

I had made another recipe a few years ago but I thought it had too much liquor in it and the texture of the cream wasn’t light enough.  This recipe uses whipped cream instead of whipped egg whites so I was a little concerned because I reeeally, reeeally don’t like whipped cream but it worked fine.

I even froze the leftovers and they tasted just fine after defrosting.  There was no degradation in flavor or texture at all.  The only thing I found is that you need to play with how long to dip the Savoiardi biscuits.  I think it just depends on the density of the brand you’re using.  At most I would dip them a few seconds on the bottom side and then place them upside down so the liquid soaks into the remainder of the biscuit.

Tiramisu | Bakewell Junction - decadent and easier than easier than you would think.Enjoy!

Tiramisu

Yield:  9 servings                 Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 12 ounce packages Savoiardi (I used less than this)
  • 1/2 cup room temperature espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup coffee flavored liquor
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cocoa for dusting (I substituted Ghirardelli ground chocolate)

Step 1:  Start heating water in a double boiler to boiling.  You can use a medium sauce pan to hold the water and top with metal bowl to hold the ingredients to be heated.  Add the egg yolks and sugar and mix well.  Turn heat to low and stir for 10 minutes.

Step 2:  Remove egg yolks from heat and beat for a few minutes.  The mixture will thicken and become a lighter yellow.

Step 3:  Beat mascarpone into egg yolk mixture to combine.  Set aside.

Step 4:  In a medium bowl, beat cream until it becomes thick and holds stiff peaks.  By this time the egg yolk mixture should have cooled a bit.  Fold whipped cream into the egg mixture.  Set aside.

Step 5:  In a small bowl, combine the espresso and liquor.  Use a couple of the Savoiardi to determine how they will soak up the liquid.  Dip one quickly for a count of three and then turn it upside down in a small dish.  Wait a few minutes and cut the lady finger to see how much of the espresso mixture has soaked into the lady finger.  If it’s to your liking, then use this length of time to dip the Savoiardi.  If not then, dip one for another test for a little longer or shorter to find out the length of dipping time that works for you.  Once you’ve found your favorite dipping time, then dip the lady fingers for the appropriate length of time, and invert them and place them in the bottom of an 8 inch square pan to cover the bottom of the pan.

Step 6:  Cover the layer of Savoiardi with half the mascarpone mixture.  Spread evenly.

Step 7:  Create another layer of dipped Savoiardi.  Cover the second layer of Savoiardi with the remaining mascarpone mixture.  I had several Savoiardi left over but I didn’t mind because I would rather have more of the cream in the dessert anyway.

Step 8:  Place mixture in the fridge for at least four hours.  Use cocoa or ground chocolate to dust the top before serving.

Tips:  Tiramisu freezes wonderfully if you’re lucky enough to have any remaining.  Defrost for half an hour before serving.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Chef Dennis, The Best Tiramisu You Will Ever Make.

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Cucidati – Italian Fig Cookies

How was everyone’s New Year’s?

I hope you’ll indulge one more Christmas cookie recipe.  Cucidati is a Sicilian cookie that I’ve only had once or twice.  I’ve also seen these called Italian Fig Cookies or Buccellati.  This cookie isn’t one of our traditions but it’s definitely worthy of anyone’s traditions or any special occasion.  My friend Chris makes these every year for her family and she advised that the recipe is from Gourmet and can be found on Epicurius.com.

Cucidati or Italian Fig Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Cucidati or Italian Fig Cookies | Bakewell Junction

I made these for my cousin’s Christmas party and they were a big hit.  I made some substitutions to suit our tastes better and to use what I had on hand.  Since I didn’t have a food processor I had to use my mini chopper which was an attachment of my immersion blender.  When I tried to chop the dried figs in the mini chopper, the clutch piece broke.  Then I cut the dried figs in small pieces by hand and tried to chop them with the immersion blender attachment but a bunch of the pieces went flying all over, some landing in my hair.  So I discarded the pieces that flew out of the bowl and soaked the rest of them in brandy to soften them a little bit.  After a while the fig pieces softened enough to chop them with the immersion blender attachment (I covered the top of the bowl so no more of them escaped during chopping).  That worked, for the most part, until the motor burnt out but by that time the figs were chopped well enough.  I’ve included instructions to soften the dried figs before chopping them, so the same thing doesn’t happen to you and it’s best if you use a food processor or blender to chop the figs.

I even considered buying fig paste for these cookies instead of chopping the figs myself.  I looked online and once I saw that there was a standard for bug pieces in the paste – one even said the number of bug heads that were acceptable (eeew!) – I decided I needed to get a food processor.

These take a little time but they’re so totally worth it.

Cucidati or Italian Fig Cookies | Bakewell JunctionEnjoy!

Cucidati (Italian Fig Cookies)

Yield:  6 dozen                 Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 cup (packed) soft dried Mission figs (8 ounces), hard tips discarded (I substituted Kalamata dried figs)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (3 3/4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 cup brandy, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest (I substituted dried orange peel)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (I substituted 2 teaspoons dried orange peel)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) blanched, slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 6 fun size Hershey chocolate bars broken into individual pips (individual rectangle of Hershey Chocolate), optional

Dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange or lemon zest (I substituted dried orange peel)

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • Nonpareils

Step 1:  For the filling:  To soften the figs, cut them into evenly sized pieces (about 1/8th’s of each fig).  Add the cut figs to a small sauce pan.  Cover figs with 1/4 cup brandy and set aside for an hour.  Transfer the small sauce pan to the cook-top, heat on low for a few minutes to heat through, stirring occasionally.  Remove figs from heat and cover for a half hour or until the figs have become much softer.  Let the mixture cool to about room temperature.

Step 2:  Add figs and raisins to a food processor, chop finely.  Transfer fig mixture to a medium bowl and mix well with the remaining ingredients.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Step 3:  Dough:  In a large bowl combine the first four ingredients.  Add cold butter and cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or pulse in the food processor until the mix looks like coarse meal.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until a dough forms.  Halve the dough and create two balls.  Shape each into a 4 by 6 inch rectangle.  Wrap each piece of dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Step 4:  Assembly:  Remove one dough and place on a clean, well floured work area.  Flour your rolling pin.  Roll into a 14 by 15 inch rectangle.  Trim dough to 10 by 13 inches.  Return trimmings to the refrigerator.  Cut the dough along the 13 inch side into 4 equal 10 inch strips (3 1/4 inches wide).  Divide the filling into 9 equal portions (1/3 cup each).  Form each of the first 4 filling portions into 1 by 10 inch logs in the center of each dough strip.  Using a bench scraper to lift the edges of each dough strip to wrap around the filling and pinch at the top to completely seal.  Flour a knife and cut each roll into 8 equal pieces (1 1/4 inch wide rolls).  Transfer rolls, seam side down (1/2 inch apart) to a parchment lined baking sheet and press to flattened pinched seam.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes until beginning to turn lightly golden on the edges.  Repeat for remaining dough rectangle.  Roll trimmings to create one more 10 by 3 1/4 inch strip and repeat.  After the filling is finished, roll remaining dough scraps, cut into similar pieces and fill each with a Hershey’s chocolate pip and fold dough over into little pillows.  Bake as other cookies.  Cool all cookies for 10 minutes.

Step 5:  Icing:  Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, orange extract and enough water to make a loose frosting.  Paint the tops of the cookies with icing and sprinkle with nonpareils.  Cool completely.

Tips:  Filling can be made a week ahead of time.  Dough can be made three days ahead of time.  Store cooled cookies at room temperature in a sealed plastic container for a week or more until ready to serve.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Italian Fig Cookies on Epicurious.com originally from Gourmet.

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