June 14 2017

Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding

What if I couldn’t buy lemons at the store? Where would I get that wonderful lemony flavoring from? The answer is Lemon Balm. It has an amazing citrus-like smell – the trick is to get the same citrus taste to come out in cooking. This Lemon Balm Pudding is flavorful and lemony. There’s only the slightest hint that the source of the flavor isn’t fruit; its an herb.

I had a few unsuccessful attempts last year at cooking with lemon balm. Nothing came out very flavorful. But for this dessert, I wanted lots of lemony flavor. At the same time, I wanted to avoid turning the pudding green. So I simmered the milk separately, and then allowed the lemon balm to steep in the milk for about fourty minutes. That let the milk soak up all the flavor, and then I was able to strain the lemon balm out.

When the pudding was done, the lemon flavor was pronounced. The next day, it was amazing. Success!

Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding
Print Recipe
A very flavorful lemony pudding, without lemons. The secret ingredient? Lemon Balm.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 40 minutes
Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding
Print Recipe
A very flavorful lemony pudding, without lemons. The secret ingredient? Lemon Balm.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Pour milk into a medium sauce pan, and slowly bring to a simmer. Once the milk is just starting to get frothy, take it off the heat. Add the lemon balm, and stir.
  2. Allow the lemon balm to steep in the milk for about 40 minutes.
  3. While the milk mixture is cooling off, combine the sugar and flour.
  4. Strain the lemon balm out of the milk. Whisk together the milk and sugar and flour in a medium saucepan. Cook the milk-flour mixture on low heat.
  5. Add the egg yolks and salt, and allow the pudding to cook. Keep an eye on the pan, stirring occasionally, to keep the pudding from burning. The pudding will start to thicken, stirring more frequently as it gets thicker.
  6. Once the mixture is of about pudding consistency, take it off the heat. Pour it into serving dishes, and let it cool before serving.
  7. Top with fruit (if desired) before serving.
Recipe Notes

Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding is great the first day, but it is even more flavorful after it has had a chance to cool in the refrigerator over night. It also perfectly compliments seasonal fruit, like strawberries and mulberries.

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June 7 2017

Lemon Balm Cake with Candied Flower Syrup

Lemon Balm Cake

This mildly sweet cake tastes of flowers and lemons and sunshine. And when I say it tastes of flowers, I mean that literally. Lemon Balm cake by itself is a light lemony treat, but covering it in syrup made with chamomile flowers really makes it special! This herbal cake is a great way to use the herbs in your garden. Also, Chamomile and Lemon Balm compliment each other beautifully!

I can just imagine eating this cake with tea in a lacey white dress and hat, and feeling very refined.

Lemon Balm Cake
Lemon Balm Cake with Candied Flower Syrup
Print Recipe
A simple cake, flavored with Lemon Balm. What really makes it special is the candied flower syrup which gives it extra sweetness. It also looks pretty!
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Lemon Balm Cake
Lemon Balm Cake with Candied Flower Syrup
Print Recipe
A simple cake, flavored with Lemon Balm. What really makes it special is the candied flower syrup which gives it extra sweetness. It also looks pretty!
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Cake
Candied Flower Syrup
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour an 8" round cake pan.
  2. Cream together butter, lemon balm, and sugar.
  3. Separate your eggs. Set aside the whites (preferably in the refrigerator!). Add the egg yokes and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to your butter mixture. Then add the buttermilk. You should have a thick batter.
  5. Beat your egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Fold into your batter until just combined. Do not over-mix!
  6. Bake your cake for approximately 20 minutes. When its done, the top will be a golden brown.
  7. While your cake is baking, put water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved, and the water has partially evaporated.
  8. Once your water and sugar are slightly thickened (you want a light syrup), add your chamomile flowers. Stir to cover the flowers in syrup, and allow the syrup to cool.
  9. Pour the syrup over the cake once both have cooled. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Chamomile flowers give a syrup a lovely flavor, but you can use other edible flowers too! The orange flower in the picture is a Nasturtium. Other edible flowers include violets, and lavender.

The Lemon Balm Cake was inspired by this recipe from Magnolia Days.

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February 8 2017

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

Molasses and dark chocolate mixed together make quite the cookie! A completely black cookie. Yes, you needed this information. Chocolate molasses cookies turn out to be rather yummy.

I started with a standard chocolate chip recipe. Alas, I had no chocolate chips. Such minor inconveniences never keep me from my cookies, however. Some days require cookies (this is a fact).

Instead of chocolate chips, I added dark cocoa, and supplemented the sugar with molasses. The result was a very lovely cookie. Not too sweet, but not un-sweet. I suspect it would be more chocolatey with chocolate chips, or more flavorful if I used more spices. But overall, it is an excellent cookie!

Chocolate Molasses Cookies
Cookies of Blackest Molasses
Print Recipe
Dark chocolate molasses cookies - chocolate chip cookies with dark cocoa and molasses.
Servings Prep Time
15 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
15 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Chocolate Molasses Cookies
Cookies of Blackest Molasses
Print Recipe
Dark chocolate molasses cookies - chocolate chip cookies with dark cocoa and molasses.
Servings Prep Time
15 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
15 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (or at least smooth). Add molasses, stir. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  2. Add your dry ingredients - flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt - to the wet mixture. With stirring, you should get a nice cookie dough.
  3. Throw in your chocolate chips last, if desired. You want to get them evenly distributed throughout the dough. Mmmm. . . chocolate. . .
  4. Scoop out 2ish tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes.
  5. Enjoy with milk.
Recipe Notes

Between the dark cocoa and the dark molasses, it will be very difficult to tell when your cookies are done. Make sure to take them out of the oven while they are still soft. Because molasses isn't quite as sweet as pure sugar (especially with dark chocolate thrown in), your chocolate molasses cookies will not stay sweet if they're overcooked. . .

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January 22 2017

Farmer’s Cheesecake

I try to keep my fridge stocked with the basics – eggs, milk, and butter. The jar of white flour should be full, and there should be extra whole wheat flour stashed away somewhere. I keep sour cream or yogurt around because I tend to cook with it, but I try not to keep multiple packages of cream cheese around. Its dangerous!

So what to do when I just have to have cheesecake? (these are the important questions)

Yes, cheesecake. Very dangerous. Very rich.

It turns out, you don’t need to use cream cheese. There are recipes for cheesecake which use a variety of other cheeses – like ricotta, or farmer’s cheese. The beauty of using Farmer’s Cheese, of course, is that you can make it yourself, and flavor it however you like while making it.

I tried this recipe using cheese made from apple cider vinegar and sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with applesauce. Awesome.

Farmer's Cheesecake
Print Recipe
Cheesecake made from Farmer's Cheese - delicious, rich, and made from ingredients already in your fridge!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 40 minutes
Farmer's Cheesecake
Print Recipe
Cheesecake made from Farmer's Cheese - delicious, rich, and made from ingredients already in your fridge!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 40 minutes
Ingredients
Filling
Crust
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Pour your milk into a large pot, and gently warm until it is frothy. Use the apple cider vinegar to separate the curds from the whey and drain. Add cinnamon if desired. (this is just the standard Farmer's Cheese recipe adapted; you can find more details here.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Cut in butter, as if you were making pie crust dough.
  3. Beat 3 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of sour cream together, and then add to the flour mixture. Mix until it forms dough (again, resembling pie crust dough). Roll out and place in pie plate.
  4. Beat the 4 eggs and one egg white at high speed until frothy. You will probably want to use an electric beater!
  5. Put farmer's cheese, granulated sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and vanilla extract in a blender. Blend well. The Farmer's Cheese will be naturally rather granular when first made; it should be chopped up until very fine and liquid. Add some of the egg mixture if necessary.
  6. Fold together the farmer's cheese mixture and egg mixtures. Pour into the pie plate.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. The cake will rise in the oven, turn golden, and set.
  8. Cool for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

One thing I like about this recipe is that it does have instructions on making its own crust. You could definitely still do a typical graham cracker crust with this, but if you don't keep graham crackers around either, this makes it simpler.

As long as you have eggs. Lots of eggs.

Based off of Country Cheesecake.

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January 8 2017

Kolachkies

This is a family recipe. Around Christmas and Easter, I usually think “oh, we should make Kolachkies, or Moctobabucta.”

Kolachkies are a bit more complex to make than, say, coffee cake. But the unique taste of these pastries – which can be filled with absolutely anything – is definitely worth it!

Kolachkies
Print Recipe
A delicious pastry, a lot like a Danish.
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Kolachkies
Print Recipe
A delicious pastry, a lot like a Danish.
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Scald your cup of milk on the stove. You want to get the milk to froth, but not boil. Once the milk is frothy, take it off the heat and let it cool a bit.
  2. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Once the milk has cooled, add the yeast mixture to the scalded milk.
  3. Cream butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups flour to the yeast / milk mixture. Mix well.
  5. Add the sugar and butter mixture, plus one egg, to the flour and yeast mixture. Beat well. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough becomes smooth enough to handle.
  6. Knead your dough until it is smooth and elastic. Place it in a greased bowl, covered, in a warm place. Let it rise until doubled.
  7. Place the dough on a warm floured board and cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, 1/4 inch thick. Put a spoonful of filling in the center of each.
  8. Place your kolachkies 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Let them rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).
  9. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.
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December 28 2016

Choco-Cranberry Almond Biscottis

Biscottis

Biscottis are just the cookie for the holidays. They are hard, but soften when dipped into coffee. Mmm. . .breakfast. . .

This recipe can be adapted to any flavor combination you like. Pure Almond, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cranberry, Cherry. . . you name it. The result is a substantial cookie.

If you buy biscottis at the store, you’ll notice that they’re very light and almost always fall apart when introduced to coffee or hot cocoa. These will not immediately fall apart. They are also not -quite- as hard. Both of these traits are pluses as far as I’m concerned.

Biscottis
Choco-Cranberry Almond Biscottis
Print Recipe
Biscottis - a hard cookie perfect with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Servings Prep Time
2 Loaves 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Loaves 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 10 minutes
Biscottis
Choco-Cranberry Almond Biscottis
Print Recipe
Biscottis - a hard cookie perfect with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Servings Prep Time
2 Loaves 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Loaves 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Loaves
Instructions
  1. Cream your butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix well.
  2. Add dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt. Combine into a soft dough.
  3. Add your chocolate chips, almonds, cranberries, or other chosen biscotti ingredients. Mix until they are evenly dispersed through the dough.
  4. Form your dough into two loaves. Place the loaves a few inches apart on a medium baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The loaves should be lightly brown.
  5. Let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes (or longer, as desired), and then slice into inch thick slices. Slice diagonally for larger biscottis.
  6. Lay the slices out on baking sheets, and bake again for 15 minutes. This will dry out the cookies. For a harder biscotti, bake longer (but don't burn them!).
  7. Enjoy with coffee!
Recipe Notes

You will get awkwardly shaped end pieces from each loaf. You should absolutely eat these to test your biscottis during the baking process.

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December 25 2016

The Ultimate Cinnamon Cream Pie

Cinnamon Cream Pie

Cream pies are amazing creamy goodness. There is, granted, probably not much redeeming benefit health-wise (unlike fruit pies – those are totally healthy, right?), but they are delicious.

You can add as much or as little cinnamon to this recipe as you like to give it some flavor. Otherwise, its all cream – and its very very important that you make it with cream! I’ve tried a lot of variations with less cream, more milk, or buttermilk, and its just not worth it. If you are horrified at the thought of a pie with cups and cups of cream and then some butter added for good measure, this pie is not for you. Just. . . don’t make a cream pie. Make some other kind of pie.

In other news, I realize that I’ve missed a few weeks here. Christmas bustle got to me. I will be resuming regular scheduling as of. . .now!

Merry Christmas!

Cinnamon Cream Pie
The Ultimate Cinnamon Cream Pie
Print Recipe
Cream pie made with heavy cream, cinnamon, and butter.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Cinnamon Cream Pie
The Ultimate Cinnamon Cream Pie
Print Recipe
Cream pie made with heavy cream, cinnamon, and butter.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Mix together your dry ingredients - sugar, flour, and salt - in a medium sized bowl. Make sure they're well combined.
  2. Add two (2) cups of heavy cream. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, mix together egg yolks, 1/2 cup of cream, the 1/2 cup of milk, and vanilla extract. Add to original cream and sugar mixture. Again, mix well, but don't beat it! You don't want whipped cream.
  4. Pour the cream mixture into your prepared pie crust. Dot with butter. Sprinkle Cinnamon across the top.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll know the pie is done when its bubbling ALL the way across the top. Let it do this for about 10 minutes before taking it out of the oven.
  6. Let the pie cool completely in the fridge for optimal creaminess.
Recipe Notes

You can also use half and half instead of 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk, but then you will be buying 3 dairy products instead of 2. This seems silly to me, unless you already buy half and half.

If you really can't get enough cinnamon, you can add cinnamon to the cream mixture as well as sprinkling it across the top. Nutmeg and Ginger also taste good. Add as much or as little spice as you like.

Based on Old Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie from Loaves and Dishes. Apparently its an Indiana thing!

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December 11 2016

Macaroons

Light, fluffy, and coconutty – macaroons are an easy and delicious treat!

I tracked down this recipe a few years ago when I had too much coconut. The cookies are pretty small, so doubling the recipe is entirely reasonable. Right? Right.

Macaroons
Print Recipe
Coconut cookies.
Servings Prep Time
12-14 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-14 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Macaroons
Print Recipe
Coconut cookies.
Servings Prep Time
12-14 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12-14 cookies 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Beat the egg whites, vanilla, and almond extract together until the egg whites are fluffy and soft peaks form.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour, and salt, then add the coconut flakes. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. The coconut flakes need to be sticky enough to hold together while baking.
  3. Form dough into balls, about one tablespoon each. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
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December 7 2016

Moctobabucta

With the holidays coming around, it seems the right time of year to consider making Moctobabucta, or poppyseed bread. Now, I’m not really sure I’m spelling its name right, or pronouncing its name right. I can’t find mention of anything called “moctobabucta” on the internet, anyway. I just know that its a family recipe, and its good!

The key to getting a pretty braid is in portioning out the poppyseed filling evenly, and then securely folding the dough over it. It is so easy to overfill one part, or not seal it properly, and then have poppyseed going everywhere. It still tastes good, its just not as impressive!

And really, with the red icing and pretty braided presentation, the finished loaf is pretty impressive looking. . .

Moctobabucta
Print Recipe
Braided poppyseed bread - pretty, sweet, and perfect for the holidays!
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 2 1/2 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 2 1/2 hours
Moctobabucta
Print Recipe
Braided poppyseed bread - pretty, sweet, and perfect for the holidays!
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 2 1/2 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 2 1/2 hours
Ingredients
Servings: loaf
Instructions
  1. Scald milk, then add butter and stir until melted. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. Mix together sugar and yeast.
  3. Add milk to yeast mixture, and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Then add eggs, vanilla and stir until blended
  4. Turn onto floured board. Knead to elastic. Place in greased bowl & clover with a slightly damp cloth. Let rise to double (1- 1.5 hours approx.)
  5. Roll into 1 rectangle 12”x18”. Cut into 3 parts. Divine filling equal parts on the 3 dough sections. Roll each section around the filling. Then braid the rolled sections and place on the pan. Let rise to double (around 1.5 hours).
  6. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover with glaze after it comes out of the oven (while its still warm).
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November 30 2016

Almond Custard Upside-Down Pie

In my pie making adventures, I’ve tried quite a few recipes whose results were questionable (Shoofly Pie with blackstrap molasses; do not do this!) or which mysteriously morphed into something else. Such it was that I started with the notion of making chess pie and ended up with this Almond Custard Pie.

I’m not entirely sure how one thing led to another anymore, but this is a delicious almondy confection. I’m not entirely sure it counts as a pie, as the almond crust has the interesting habit of rising to the top of the pie instead of remaining on the bottom as crust.

Almond Custard Pie
Print Recipe
A delicious almond custard which may or may not be a pie. . .
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Almond Custard Pie
Print Recipe
A delicious almond custard which may or may not be a pie. . .
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
For Crust
For Filling
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Chop your almonds up in a food processor. Once they are finely chopped, add the butter and almond extract and continue processing until well mixed. If the butter starts out soft, then the almonds should start clumping together in a loose dough.
  3. Press your almond dough into the bottom of a pie plate, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. While your crust is cooking, cream together your butter and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add in the eggs, flour, whey, almond extract, and nutmeg. Mix well.
  6. Pour the filling into your pie plate, and bake for an additional 60 minutes.
Recipe Notes

On the whey - the first time I made this recipe, I had really thick whey from one of my cheese-making experiments.. It was a bit like soft yogurt. You can also use buttermilk, OR 1 cup of whey/milk with 1/2 cup of yogurt.

On the pie crust - 1 cup of almonds only makes enough to cover the bottom of the pie plate. I like limited crust, but if you want it to go up the sides as well, double the crust recipe.

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