Happy Cinco De Mayo! Do your plans include guacamole or a margarita today? Or maybe a sweet dessert? These Mexican Brownies are the perfect sweet treat for today. Unlike traditional brownies, these flavor in these brownies are enhanced by the addition of cinnamon and chili powder in the batter. Don’t worry, they aren’t spicy or anything. It actually offers a nice balance to the chocolate and they are super moist and fudgy.
If you are looking for some other desserts for today check out some of my past Cinco De Mayo treats.
Sopapilla Cheesecake and Mexican Wedding Cookies
Tres Leches Cupcakes and Churros
Coconut & Lime Cupcakes
Tres Leches Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long edges of the pan. Press the paper into the corners of the pan and spray with cooking spray or lightly grease with butter.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
Add the remaining ingredients and continue mixing until smooth. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out fudgy. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, use the parchment paper to lift out the brownies and then slice.
Recipe from Food Network
I always have a container of ricotta cheese in my fridge just in case I want to make a baked ziti, a cheesecake or something or other. Unfortunately what ends up happening is, it sits in my fridge, I know it’s there, but I don’t get around to using it until it’s about to expire and then I’m scrambling to make something because I don’t want to throw it out. When this recently happened I decided to make something I made a few years ago, but didn’t come out quite right the first time… a Ricotta Orange Pound Cake. This cake has a nice orange taste and is quite moist thanks to the ricotta cheese.
Ricotta Orange Pound Cake
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups cake flour*
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons amaretto
*If you don’t have cake flour, use this method to substitute with all-purpose flour and cornstarch.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan with butter, or spray with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.
With a mixer, cream together the ricotta cheese, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add the vanilla, zest and amaretto and beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. If you find you need to bake it a little longer, you may want to lower the temperature of the oven to ensure that you don’t burn the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Food Network
I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but, I’m always on the search for quick and easy meals that flavorful, don’t require a slew of ingredients and gives me enough leftovers for a few days. This pasta dish checks all of those boxes.
I started by cooking the pasta. Then, I sautéed garlic, browned the sausage, added frozen peas and finally heavy cream and butter. After bringing it to a boil I added in the pasta and that was it. You can’t top something as simple as that.
Rigatoni with Sausage & Peas
1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat or sausages with casings removed
12 ounces frozen green peas
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cooking for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente and then drain.
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic. Add the sausage and brown. Then add the green peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add the heave cream and butter and bring to a slight boil. Cook for 5 minutes and then toss with cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.
Recipe from allrecipes
I recently got a request for a basic yellow cupcake with vanilla frosting. No sprinkles, no additional flavors or anything, just plain vanilla. I can understand… One of my favorite desserts is a yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting. It’s such a simple and satisfying combination and sometimes that simplicity is a better dessert than something intricate and complicated in flavor. It’s a comfort and familiarity. For the cupcake, I tried out a vanilla cupcake recipe I got from an issue of Food Network Magazine quite some time ago and for the frosting, I whipped up half a batch of my favorite vanilla frosting from Martha Stewart. Final result, the perfect Vanilla Square Cupcake.
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk*
*I used whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until creamy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time and then beat in the vanilla extract.
Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Beat until just combine and then divide the batter among the muffin pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cool rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and transfer them to the rack and allow to cool completely.
Recipe from Food Network Magazine
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. After adding the first cup and then second cup increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat for 10 seconds to aerate the frosting.
Add the vanilla extract and beat the frosting until its smooth.
Recipe from Martha Stewart
It’s the first day of spring and unfortunately the temperatures aren’t spring-like and there’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow. Too bad the weather doesn’t automatically switch with the seasons – of course people would only enjoy that for the warmer months. Not many people would be too keen on frigid temps and snow the first day of winter, although it would make for a white Christmas! I’m welcoming spring today with a lemon treat. I’m not all that sure that lemon is synonymous with spring – I think it more of a summer flavored dessert – but, when I Googled Spring desserts a bunch of lemon ones were the first to come up. So, the lemon treat I settled on was Lemon Pudding Cakes.
I started by making the lemon base of the cakes by mixing together egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and zest. Once those ingredients were well combined, I sifted in flour, sugar and salt and mixed these ingredients until combined.
Next I beat the egg whites until stiff peaks formed. Now, we all have those kitchen tasks we’re not fond of doing. I used to dislike having to mince garlic until I purchased a garlic mincer. Another task I dislike, beating egg whites into stiff peaks, well by accident, well not really accident, I finally realized what I was doing wrong… I was using the wrong bowl. I would normally beat them in a wide stainless bowl and I guess it would take long because of the larger surface of the bowl. I didn’t feel like grabbing that bowl when making these pudding cakes so I grabbed a smaller stainless bowl instead and my egg white were ready in half the time. I apologize to those of you who are like “Duh.” Sometimes we get so used to doing things a certain way we don’t stop to think of a more efficient way to do it.
After the egg white were ready I folded them – a small amount at a time- into the lemon mixture. I then divvied up the batter among 4 ramekins and baked them in a water bath. After letting them cool, I inverted them on a dish and topped them with fresh strawberries and confectioners’ sugar. I knew these were going to be delicious, but, I was surprised by just how good they are. The cake texture was reminiscent of a ricotta cheesecake and there was a nice layer of lemon pudding on top… Hence, a Lemon Pudding Cake. This was a quick dessert if you are looking for a nice dessert for a small get together or, you just want a dessert that will remind you of the warmer temps that are sure to come.
Lemon Pudding Cakes
2/3 cup superfine sugar, plus more for dusting
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice*
1 tablespoon lemon zest*
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly sugar 4 ramekins.**
In a large bowl add egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest and using a hand mixer beat until well combine on medium speed. Sift in flour, sugar and salt into the mixture and beat on low until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins and bake in a water bath. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan and fill hallway with water.
Bake for 45 minutes until the top springs back when gently pressed. All the cakes to cool slightly and then invert onto a plate and garnish with fresh berries and confectioners’ sugar.
**I sprayed my ramekins with cooking spray then sprinkled sugar in them.
Recipe from Food Network
While spring may be a few days away the weather is still cold enough for some hearty soup. And while this soup may not have any meat in it, it’s still filling thanks to the array of vegetables. I was a bit intimidated by the amount of ingredients – I tend to avoid recipes that have too many ingredients – but, they are all pretty simple and some I actually had on hand.
I added most of my ingredients to my slow cooker and then set it to cook on low for 8 hours. I began checking on it after 5.5 hours as I didn’t want my vegetables to over-cook and break down, especially the zucchini. Ultimately my soup was ready in 6 hours, my vegetables were tender and still intact.
I then cooked the elbow macaroni in pot of boiling salted water and added it to the soup along with chopped baby spinach. I cooked it on low for an additional 15 minutes and it was done.
The Minestrone was flavorful and as I said earlier hearty and, the leftovers tasted even better the next day and even better the day after that.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone
6 cups vegetable broth
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 cup frozen green beans
1 small zucchini, cut into quarter moons
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup elbow macaroni
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
Combine all ingredients from the broth through the black pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetable are tender.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 8 minutes, until cooked through but still firm, drain.
Add the macaroni and spinach to slow cooker and cook for another 15 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.
Recipe from allrecipes
It’s March 14th, otherwise known as Pi Day! So named, because of the irrational number 3.14 that goes on infinitely. So, enjoy some pie today in honor of the day. Not a fan of pie, have a slice of pizza from a pizza pie or try your hand at a savory pie, like a quiche. Or, you could out on a limb and have some cheesecake. I actually baked a cheesecake a few years ago in honor of the day. I’ve also made a Banana Cream Pie and a Blueberry Pie as well to honor the day.
I was in search of a new pie to make for today and was stumped. I flipped through an entire book dedicated to pies and nothing popped at me and then I remembered I had a bag of shredded coconut in my cabinet that I had purchased to make crispy coconut cookies – which I haven’t gotten around to – so, I decided on a Coconut Custard Pie. This is actually one of my favorite pies from my youth. I remember my Dad bringing home the Entenmann’s version from the supermarket when I was a kid. Unfortunately, Entenmann’s has discontinued it, so the flavor is a distant memory now. I actually tried making Coconut Custard Pie once before and it came out horrible because I didn’t use whole milk and I think the missing fat from the milk was the leading culprit of my failing. The custard never formed.
Thankfully I had no issues with this pie… The custard formed, the shredded coconut rose to the top during baking and it was the perfect balance of the coconut flavor and sweetness.
Coconut Custard Pie
1 homemade or store bough 9-inch pie crust*
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract**
*I used a frozen deep-dish one
**For a more of coconut flavor used coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate.
In a large bowl combine the butter, eggs, flour, sugar, coconut, milk and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to blend all of the ingredients together. Make sure the sugar is dissolved.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with aluminum foil for the first 25 minutes and then remove. Pie will be ready when the custard has puffed up – sides and center.
Remove from the over and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Bunny’s Warm Oven