Pear Spice Cake

Every year we get so many pears on the pear tree and of course, they’re all ripe at once. So last year I tried to figure out something I could make will all these pears! Well, after some searching, I found this recipe and this one is pretty much the same.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled, cored and chopped pears
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Directions:

Step 1

Chop your pears up into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine the pears and the sugar and let stand for an hour. The pears should be broken down pretty well at this point.

  

Step 2

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a 10 inch bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slightly beat the egg whites and combine them with the oil, chopped pecans and pear mixture.

Step 3
Stir the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in the pear mixture. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan.
 

Step 4
Bake at 325 degrees F  for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing form pan. After it cools, sift some powdered sugar over the top. Enjoy!
 

Pie Crust

People always fuss over pie crusts, some people won’t even attempt them.  Pie crusts are easy.  There are two things to remember with pie crusts:

  1. Use very cold water and if it is a hot day, cool the mixing bowl also.  Pie crusts are easier to work with when they stay at a nice, cool temperature.  A cool temperature helps the dough stay firm and easy to work with.
  2. Don’t over work your dough.  Roll it out, lay it in the pie dish and be done with it.  If it falls apart, just piece it back together in the dish with your fingers.  Once it bakes, it will look perfect!

Ingredients

 

 

 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is another Betty Crocker recipe, simple and perfect.  This is one of Chris’ favorites! I love making it for him- and eating it too! I follow this recipe to a T, because it is the best carrot cake ever!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Directions

  1. Mix sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl, beat for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients, except carrots and walnuts, stir very well, beat 1 minute.
  3. Add carrots and walnuts, stir.
  4. Pour into a prepared 13x9x2 pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 t milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

 

  1. Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in bowl with electric mixer on low.
  2. Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until smooth

**I usually double this recipe for Chris:)

Blueberry Muffins

I am a big fan of Betty Crocker, I love her tried and true recipes.  In fact, there are 3 things I make that I am very proud of: (1) my carrot cake, a Betty Crocker recipe (2) my pie crust, a Betty Crocker recipe (3) my blueberry muffins, a modified Betty Crocker recipe.  Her recipe is actually perfect as is, but I have added a dash of this and a pinch of that and a heaping spoonful of sour cream to the batter- and these muffins are fabulous! Getting this recipe just right has been a process of trial and error.  I still hold my breath every time I flip my muffin pan over, onto my cutting board, hoping the muffins will tumble out in a glorious state of tasty perfection!  This recipe is Betty’s, but I am adding my changes to it.  (BTW, Betty Crocker is not a real person. Just a name given to the company to make the brand more personable.  This little piece of information makes me a little sad.)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 T
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/2 salt, plus extra dash
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

 

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Grease muffin pan cups (jumbo cup size) with shortening.
  3. Beat milk, oil, vanilla, egg and sour cream in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once, just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy).
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  7. Sprinkle a generous amount of Streusel Topping over each muffin cup (recipe below)
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and enjoy:)

 

Streusel Topping

  • 2 T firm stick butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly.

 

 

Ciabatta Pizza

This is a ciabatta-type pizza dough. It makes an airy, chewy crust that’s so good! I got the original recipe from this site. This only makes one pizza so I generally double this recipe.

Crust

1 3/4 cups bread flour (250 g to be exact)
1 cup water
1 tsp yeast (1/2 package)
1/4 teaspoon salt

(gluten-free version)

1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill general purpose flour (250 g to be exact)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp yeast (1/2 package)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Yield: 1 pizza

 

Directions

Step 1.

Mix the flour, yeast, salt & water in your stand mixer with the paddle on high speed, it won’t look like it is doing anything for a while. Then after about 5-10 minutes or so it will start to come together. The dough is done as soon as it stop sticking to the sides and is just coming off the bottom. It has the consistency of rubber but is very sticky.

Step 2.

Oil the sides and bottom of a large bowl (spray oil works good). Scoop out the dough into the bowl. Be quick moving it into the bowl because the dough will still be very soft and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set it in a warm place and let it rise until it triples (about 3 – 4 hours).

Step 3.

Once the dough has tripled, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Get the dough out and if it’s still really sticky on top, sprinkle a little flour on top so you can pull it out. Put the dough on a floured baking sheet or some parchment paper – it’s still going to be really soft and squishy so you’ll probably need to sprinkle some flour on as you’re working it into a pizza shape.

Step 4.

Sprinkle some olive oil (and maybe some truffle oil!) on top and spread it out all over the top of the dough. Now, put on your toppings! I found that right now my favorite cheeses to use are Provolone, Gruyere, Gouda and Fontina or some mixture of a couple of them.

Step 5.

Bake @ 500 degrees for 12 minutes and enjoy!

Chase’s Lego Cake

Chase LOVES Legos! He wakes up every morning thinking about what he wants to build, or what needs to be fixed.  He goes to bed at night talking about what he made and planning what he will make tomorrow.  And, he is good at it! I am always so impressed to watch him build these amazing cars and trucks- pretty amazing for a 4 year old.

So, for Chase’s 4th birthday Chris made Chase his own Lego Birthday Cake! It looked really cool, but, it tasted even better! This is the best chocolate cake EVER! So rich, dense and moist! Perfect! He found it on the Hershey website, I know, too obvious!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

 

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe is from The Martha Stewart baking Handbook.  I feel about this book, the way some people feel about their bible.  I trust it.  I know if I turn to it in a time of need, I will find answers and comfort.  Well, comfort food! Which is just as good!

This was my first time making just a plain ole loaf of bread, which it was not! Fresh bread is such a treat! It was amazing! I loved smelling it while it was baking.  I loved the subtle hint of honey in every bite.  I loved every thing about this, especially with the fresh churned butter and Homemade Strawberry Jam.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • Canola oil, for bowls, plastic wrap, and pans

 

Directions

  1. Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a large liquid-measuring cup. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour, the whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, gradually drawing in the flour until well combined.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Transfer to a warm place, and let rise until double its original size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Brush two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with canola oil. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and punch down. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Flatten one piece of dough into an oval, and roll up lengthwise. Place the roll, seam-side down, into a prepared pan. Repeat process with second piece. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place the loaves in a warm place, and let rise again until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Bake until deep golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes (the loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom). Transfer pans to a rack, and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the loaves onto the rack to cool completely.

 

Forgive the picture quality, they were taken with my phone.