Tuesday, October 6, 2015

flourless chocolate cake

Earlier this year, Nashville experienced a glorious week.  Well, in my mind it was glorious.  For one, full week we had enough snow and ice to warrant being out of school five days in a row.  Especially being in a private school in the south, you just don't come by such an experience too many times. And what I loved about it, is everyone was, for the most part, forced to stop and breathe.  The city, in a way, came to a standstill, and our family soaked up every second together we could.

Setting up a card table in the living room in front of the fireplace, we pulled out a 1000 piece puzzle, looped "Andy Griffith" on Netflix, and fired up the oven and stove.  I'm telling you, I pulled stuff out of the deep freezer, the lazy Susan, the pantry, and the back of the fridge.  We had the time of our lives. And the sledding wasn't too shabby, either! 

It was during this stint that I came upon a fantastic flourless cake recipe from King Arthur.  Man, how I love their site!  I could spend hours there, and there's no doubt I would LOVE to go visit them someday.  Their site beckons, "Come visit our Vermont campus…"

Sends chills right through me, I tell ya!

This is a rich, decadent dessert, and it calls for vanilla ice cream like nobody's business.  With my previously-posted homemade five-ingredient version (Plain 'Ol Vanilla Ice Cream), you probably have the ingredients on hand and can almost always make a quart, with no trouble.

I hope you'll find a reason to make this soon.  In fact, if you find the good Lord grants you another day tomorrow, I think you just found your reason!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

makes one 8-inch round cake

For the cake:

1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

For the glaze:

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and lightly spray with non-stick spray.  

2. To make the cake, put the chocolate and butter inside a bowl and heat in a microwave until butter is melted and chips are softened.  Stir until the chips are melted, reheating as needed.  You can also do this in a saucepan over boiling water.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

3. Stir in sugar, salt, espresso powder and vanilla.  One teaspoon powder will enhance the flavor, while two will give it a mocha flair.  

4. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth.  Add the cocoa powder and mix just until combined.  Spoon powder into prepared pan.

5. Bake the cake for 25 minutes.  The top will have formed a thin crust and it should register 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

6. Remove from oven and cool in a pan for 5 minutes.  

7. Loosen edge of pan with a table knife or nylon spreader and place on plate.  The top will now be the bottom.  The edges will crumble just a bit; that is fine.  Let completely cool.  

8. To make glaze, combine chocolate and cream and heat in microwave until cream is very hot but not simmering.  Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth.  

9. Spoon the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip just a bit over the sides.  Allow the glaze to sit for several hours before serving.  

*Tips and Tricks - For cleanest slicing, cut with sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean.  Repeat this process for each piece sliced.  

Recipe from King Arthur

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

flavorFALL - fresh apple cake with browned butter frosting

I have gone back and forth, one hundred times, on how I might "return" to the blog.  Shortly after my last post, I had to call it quits.  It wasn't even intentional.  It just ended up having to be.

None-the-less, I am back, and I am so excited I can't hardly stand it!  My goal was to resurface within the first week of Fall.  If you've read posts before, you may have seen how I love this time of year and the food ops it brings.  I couldn't imagine a better time, so I set the goal and, by golly, I reached it. Feels like forever since I've done such a thing.  In fact, I set another one, too.  Did you notice?  The new (and VERY much improved) look of the site?  I have wanted this for so long, and thanks to an incredibly talented friend, I now have it.  I just love it.  Love. It.

A lot has occurred over the last several months.  A lot.  I don't think I want, or even can, find the words to go into it at the moment.  Just too hard right now.  I'm sure I will in time, but for now I do think I'll do what I love to do, and that's SHARE A RECIPE!  Can I please get an, "Amen!"?

We moved over a year ago, as I shared here, and we continue to fall in love with our place.  It's not so much the actual house, although I'm terribly thankful for it.  But it's the setting.  It's quaint and tucked away.  The street is lined with trees, as we pull into the cul-de-sac, and the place just leans into the seasons, especially Fall.  I feel like our home takes on a life of its own when the oven kicks on, it's filled with multiple kids and their parents, and laughter ensues.  What is it about laughter? And ovens?

When I was looking for a Fall recipe for a crowd, flipping through recipe books and scrolling through websites, there was none that called my name like the title of this one.  It had me at, "Browned Butter Frosting."  Oh my stars and garters…  this was the one!  It received tremendous reviews on the site, and I knew it would be worth the time to give it a try.  Worth the time it was, and I (nor our guests) could have been more pleased.  I did cut the sugar of the cake in half from the original recipe, as the frosting is extremely rich.  But a glass of milk, or - in my case - a strong cup of coffee, rounds it out nicely.

Wow.  And there you go.  Finally, after all this time, here's another great recipe for a slew of fantastic readers.  And it feels so good to be back.

*NOTE - The butter in the frosting requires about an hour to cool before mixing; plan ahead!

Fresh Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

printable recipe

Makes one 13x9 cake

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecan
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch wedges

For the frosting:

1 cup butter
1 16 oz package powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


For the frosting

1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6-8 minutes or until butter begins to turn a golden brown.  Remove pan from heat immediately and pour butter into a small bowl.  Cover and chill one hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until butter becomes fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar.  Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla. 

For the cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2. Stir together butter and next three ingredients in a large bowl until blended. 
3. Combine flour and next three ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apples and one cup pecans (batter will be thick, similar to cookie dough).  Spread batter into lightly greased 13x9 pan.  

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely in a pan, on a wire rack, for 45 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Southern Living

Thursday, January 1, 2015

winter wonderland chocolate peppermint cake

Desi and Lucy...
Mork and Mindy... 
Peanut butter and jelly... 

They just go together.  And in my opinion, chocolate and peppermint do as well.  I absolutely love the combo.  Love. It.

So does my dad.  

Poor thing has a birthday less than a week before Christmas, so he has jokingly commented about how it has always kind of gotten swept up into the holiday without much notice.  Years ago, I began making special cakes for him just so he'd know the day - and he - are special. Every year I try something different, although the base ingredient stays the same.  

I know I've mentioned it before, but Dad is a major chocolate fan, and I am my father's daughter.  So, truth be told, we've both been known to text one another when going through a DQ drive-thru... "Hey there.  Ordering a Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard and wishing you were here!"  

That kind of thing.

This year I wanted to try to blend two of Dad's favorite flavors together, but I didn't want the mint to override the chocolate, so I did a beefed up Devil's Food box mix, with a filling of rich chocolate buttercream between the layers, covered in a mint creamcheese icing.  I topped it off with peppermint "snow."  I was hoping for something to make it extra-special and wintry feeling.  The chopped candy cane and white chocolate did the trick.  I wish you could have seen it in person.  These pictures do not do it justice.

So this is a great way to use up leftover candy canes from the holidays, if you're searching. Actually, if I'm honest, I'm having a hard time letting go of the holidays.  I'm just not ready to say goodbye to Christmas 2014.  It seemed as though there was so much build-up and anticipation, and before I knew it, all had passed.  I am excited about the new year,though, and I'm hopeful for what God has in store for those I love.  He has been incredibly faithful and I am beyond blessed.

I am looking forward to another year of eating and sharing and comforting my family and friends with the gift of good food.  Happy 2015 to you and yours, and may God wrap you tightly in His unending love and mercy!

Now go eat cake.

Winter Wonderland Chocolate Peppermint Cake
For the Cake
  • 1 Devil's Food Cake box mix
  • 1 3.4 oz instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water or 1/2 cup warm coffee
~  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9-inch round pans with cooking spray and line 
    the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper.  Spray paper.

~  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix on medium-high for 2 minutes.

~  Divide batter evenly between the pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center 
    comes out clean and cake springs back to touch, about 25-30 minutes.

~  Let cool in pans 10 minutes and remove to cool on racks completely.  

For the chocolate frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
~ In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy.

~ Gradually add cocoa and powdered sugar until mixed.  Add in vanilla and mix.

~  Pour in milk and combine, adding more milk until desired spreading consistency is 

For the cream cheese peppermint frosting
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp peppermint extract
~  In a large bowl, cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.

~  Add in sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until combined and fluffy.

~  Add in mint extract 1/2 tsp at a time until desired flavor is reached.

For the topping
  • 3 full-sized candy canes
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
~  Place both candies in chopper or food processor and pulse until chopped.  I preferred
    not to pulverize them and have some variation in the size of peppermint, but you can 
    do as you wish.  

To assemble cake:

~ Level off cooled cake rounds by using a large knife and slicing gently in a horizontal 
   direction.  Move one layer to cake plate.

~  Smooth a layer of chocolate frosting on top of bottom layer, making it as thick as 
    desired.  I had some left over to refrigerate and use another time.

~  Gently place second layer on top of frosting and apply a thin crumb layer of cream 
    cheese frosting on the top and sides of cake.  Follow with a full layer of icing,
    decorating as preferred.

~  Sprinkle top with white chocolate/candy cane mixture.

Cake recipe from My Baking Addiction.  Chocolate frosting recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen. Cream Cheese frosting recipe from Southern Living.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

over-the-top pumpkin waffles

I have not yet tired of pumpkin this season at all.  I'll admit it.  Some years I do.  I don't know what is different this year.  Maybe I haven't had as much of it, or maybe I'm just changing in my preferences, but I'm still drawn to it even half-way through December.  

I know I've mentioned on the blog how much our family loves breakfast, and we really love it on a Saturday morning.  It's so nice to lazily begin the day in my dilapidated well-loved moccasins and pj's, hair in a top-knot and drinking a mug of coffee while playing around with whatever is in the fridge or pantry.  There's rarely a plan on Saturdays.  

Actually, there's rarely a plan any day, but I digress.  

Anyway… especially Saturdays, everyone has to go with the flow when it comes to meals.  

So when I decided to do pumpkin waffles a while back, and then while digging through the freezer stumbled upon some Pumpkin Maple Swirl Butter and Honey-Glazed Pecans, my typical lazy approach to breakfast suddenly switched into high gear.  I couldn't WAIT to try all of these flavors together and found myself describing them upon first bite as "over the top."  Each square indention of the waffle held the melted butter, syrup and pieces of pecans beautifully.  Every single bite was a joy.  

So, I suppose I just answered my own question regarding my continued interest in pumpkin well into December.  Seriously.  I say with recipes like this one, here's to pumpkin 'til May!

Over-the-Top Pumpkin Waffles
makes 4-5 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, pureed (or 1 can pumpkin)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Honey-Glazed Pecans for topping waffles
  • Pumpkin Maple Swirl Butter
~ Heat waffle iron according to directions.

~ In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients until fully incorporated.  

~ In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar, adding in puree, yogurt, milk and 

~ Pour pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients, stirring gently with rubber spatula just until 

~ Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter.

~  Spoon onto heated and greased waffle iron.  Keep warm in 250 degree oven, directly on 
    rack until ready to serve.

~ Plate topped with pecans, butter and syrup as desired.

Waffle recipe from the Food Network.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

back again… and my favorite Christmas cookie of all time

Can I just say I'm getting teary writing this post right now?  I have missed it so, you don't even know.  

I'm such a sap lately; I really am.  To be completely honest, I have been practically willing myself through every day of the last month.  Hear me when I say I have absolutely no reason to be in such a state.  But as so many around me are doing, I am working tirelessly, and lots of hours and constant activity has resulted in some significant exhaustion, both physically and emotionally.  For whatever reason, on top of it all, I have been tying my brain up non-stop with loaded life questions and trying to reconcile a lot of pain I'm seeing both people I know, and those I don't, endure.  I've heard myself saying out loud, "I know you're there, God," and I'm regularly reminding myself this life is not meaningless.  I don't know.  Maybe all of this is because I'm getting closer to 40.  Maybe it's Satan.  I think it's the latter.

At the end of the day, I choose to seek joy, despite lack of momentary happiness.  I choose to find and celebrate God in the small things, so that I can appreciate Him when He pulls me and others around me through the hard.  I am committing to make time - be it ever so small - to just play.  And, of course, you know for me that means in the kitchen.

I posted this nearly two years ago and wanted to share it again before the big holiday that's upon us arrives.  I have many other recipes I've tried and even captured in pictures over the last weeks, but as I was scrolling through some past posts re-energizing myself to return, this one - above all - filled me with joy.  

Thank you for being patient.  My intent is not to go on long hiatus, as I've done this last time, but I appreciate you understanding why I did.      

I spent the first third of my life living in a duplex with my parents and grandparents.  It was the neatest thing to be able to run upstairs to "Ma and Popie's" whenever I fancied.  I have all kinds of wonderful memories, as many grandchildren do of their grandparents, but some of the best center around this time of year and all that played a part of the holidays growing up on Herndon Drive.

I couldn't imagine sharing anything but this recipe with you on Christmas day.  The first moment I'd smell Springerles baking, starting as far back as I can remember, to me, that was the official beginning of Christmas. Ma would work tirelessly for days on end, baking dozens and dozens of the German embossed cookies to pass out to friends, family, neighbors, you name it.  We had an extra oven in our basement, so the aroma would immediately make it's way up to me... just delightful.

These cookies are extremely unique, delicate, temperamental, but totally worth it.  With a slight tinge of licorice, the dough - even before baking - is hard to resist.

The star of the show is the rolling pin.  Isn't she a beaut?

I would love to perfect these one day.  Mine will never be as light, nor as beautiful, as Ma's.  But she has officially passed down the coveted rolling pin to me.  Although I have my work cut out for me, I feel completely honored to carry on the tradition.

I have had such a wonderful time "spending time" with you over the last few months.  I greatly appreciate your encouraging thoughts and sweet comments regarding all things Lazy Daisy.  I look forward to continuing to bless others with you through the gift of food... a way to so many's heart, and a way to comfort when words don't always suffice.  May God continue to richly bless you and yours as 2012 comes to a close; prayers for love and light in 2013.

Come to the feast (and don't forget to invite others),

Springerles - 
makes 4-5 dozen of traditional-sized cookies

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of anise (can substitute fruit flavored oils; if you do, use 3 teaspoons)
  • about 7 cups all-purpose flour, or 2 pound box cake flour
  • more powdered sugar as needed
~ Dissolve baking powder in milk and set aside. 

~ Beat eggs in mixer (stand mixer is easiest) until thick and lemon-colored, about 20

~ Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. 

~ Add the baking powder and milk, salt, and preferred flavoring (I always use anise).  

~ Gradually beat in flour, one cup at a time.  If you have a dough hook, that works 
    wonderfully here.  If not, mix in as much as you can with the beaters and stir in the rest 
    by hand until you form a stiff dough.

~ Ma taught me to tape down paper on a large surface in which to work with the dough.  I 
    just cut open paper grocery bags and affix to our island.  She also suggests having 
    powdered sugar handy to sprinkle on the rolling surface and the pin, as well as the
    dough, as needed, so it doesn't stick.  Using the sugar works so much better, and is much 
    tastier, than flour.

~ Divide dough into two sections and cover the section you're not using with plastic wrap.  

~ Working quickly, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch (maybe a bit more) with flat rolling 

~ Using Springerle pin, press and roll through the end of the flattened dough, doing your 
    best to apply consistent pressure to ensure fully embossed imprints.  If you look closely 
    at the picture below, you'll notice I worked a little too slow and the surface dried slightly, 
    causing some wrinkling.  If this happens, turn a blind eye (which I've done my fair share 
    of times) or pick up the dough, need slightly, and start over.

Below is the way the roll should look.

~ As each section is rolled out, use a pastry wheel or bench scraper to cut apart, following 
    the lines.

~ Allow cut cookies to dry a couple of hours (or more).  This will help the pictures stay put 
   when baking.

~ Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake between 255 and 325 degrees 
   for as long as they take to turn slightly golden, about 10-15 minutes.  Our oven worked 
   best at 325 degrees for 12 minutes this last batch.  Humidity and such plays a roll, so my 
   next round may require a different time.  I highly suggest you try baking one at a time 
   until you find the right temperature and length of time that works.

~ Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months, and 
    improve with age. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

flavorFALL - one ingredient pure pumpkin puree

Two words for this recipe.  

Easy. Peasy.  

In fact, I don't even know if it qualifies as a recipe, because I think recipes probably have to have more than one thing in them, don't you think?  Actually, I've looked up the definition since typing that last sentence.  For those scholarly ones who care to know, according to Webster, recipe is "a list of instructions given to prepare a dish and includes the ingredients."  

Well, in this case, INGREDIENT.  

A real recipe or not, all I know is that now that I've done this version of pumpkin puree, I don't think I'll ever, ever go back to the can.  This is the perfect 'recipe' for this series and a must-have staple for many Falls to come.  The result is so sweet without a thing added to it!  I wish now I had grabbed more Sugar Pie pumpkins (I just love that name) to make a lot of this to store up and freeze.  Next year I'll know… and now, so will you!

Happy weekend, friends!

one year ago: autumn chicken stewblack-bottom pumpkin piedaniel's potato soup
two years ago: butternut squash soup

Pure Pumpkin Puree
Are you ready for this?
  • 1 pie pumpkin
~ Line crockpot with aluminum foil.  Prick pumpkin with fork, multiple times, and place
    in crockpot.  

~ Cook on Low 6-8 hours or until pumpkin is soft.  

~ Cut open pumpkin, scoop out seeds, and scrape out flesh.  Puree with blender or hand 
    blender (not pureed in picture).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

flavorFALL - perfect gingersnaps (without molasses)

I'm sitting in a downtown Boston hotel, late at night, listening to the Ken Burns soundtrack from his Lewis and Clark film and blogging about gingersnaps.  It's really quite surreal, to tell you the truth.  And if you like Early American music, you really need to take a listen to the soundtrack.  

Oh, and did I mention how much I wish John were here?

About fourteen years ago, my history buff and teacher husband wrote a grant to travel to this area and study for about 10 days.  It was a most enjoyable trip, as we walked part of the Lewis and Clark cobblestone trail, experienced Salem, explored Plymouth, strolled along the beaches of Chatham, learned about the Industrial Revolution and celebrated our nation's birthday listening to the Boston Pops and watching the fireworks on the St. Charles River.  I won't ever forget it. And tonight, as I walked just a portion of those same cobblestone streets I did all those years ago with John, I smiled in my heart for the adventure God blessed us with when life together was fairly new and we had much joy ahead of us to live. We had no idea how much joy, but He did. And I might mention the trip was so meaningful to us Luke's middle name was given to him in honor of it... Luke Cambridge... I love that name. And I love this place.

So, what does all of this have to do with gingersnaps you ask?  Not a thing.  Except being here in the fall with the mums and pumpkins adorning historic wooden doors of what are now quaint apartments near the Old North Church and such, along with the known fact that these "ginger biscuits" were greatly enjoyed during colonial times in both European countries and America, I couldn't help but think of them while in this town and wanted to share.  

Our whole family really enjoyed these last week and then again this week.  I made two batches, back-to-back, because they went quickly.  It's the first time I've made them without molasses.  We love them with it, but I didn't have any last week when I got a hankering, so I searched and came across this recipe.  So glad I gave it a try.  I did tweak it slightly and added a dash of pepper and a little allspice to give it a slight bite, in case the lack of molasses left room for a bit more zest.  I loved the result.  There's a slight crunch on the outside while the inside remains soft.  And the cracks are just perfect, are they not?!?

I really loved these with a cup of coffee.  John and Daniel ate theirs so fast, I'm not sure they took time to drink anything, and I think Luke preferred them dunked in milk.  Anyway you have them, you can't go wrong.  As the name states, they're just... well... perfect.

Perfect Gingersnaps
makes about 3 1/2 dozen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup white sugar, divided
  • 7 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~ In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, pepper and allspice.  Set

~ In a large mixing bowl, mix together 3/4 cup white sugar, butter and brown sugar until 

~ Add in honey, vanilla, egg and mix. 

~ Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.  Cover
    and freeze for one hour.  

~ Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  With a cookie scoop, roll scooped dough into
    ball and roll in remaining g sugar.  Place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

~ Bake 12-13 minutes until golden.  Remove and let cool 1-2 minutes.  Remove to a cooling 

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.