Peach Bread Pudding with Warm Brown Sugar Sauce

Bread Pudding:
1/2 a loaf of day-old unsliced bakery bread
3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
4 tsp white sugar, for topping

Brown Sugar Sauce:
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease 4 individual dishes or an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set on to a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel peaches and cut in to slices. Set aside.

Slice bread in to thin 3/4-inch slices or cube. If using slices, you’ll want your bread pieces to be about an inch higher than the height of your baking dish, so figure out how tall they should be and cut off the bottom of the slices to that height. (*You won’t need the part you cut off the bottom, but you can use them by cutting them in to cubes and making some croutons with them!). Then cut each of the trimmed slices in half from top to bottom to make two pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, cream, milk and vanilla.

Place your bread slices in to your baking dishes (or disby slightly overlapping them (crust side facing the side of the disand allowing them to tilt back a bit. If using cubes, place in your dish or dishes.

Place some peach slices in the gaps between the bread. Pour some of the egg mixture over the bread and in to the dishes, just until it reaches the top edge of the dish or until it nears but doesn’t cover the top of the bread.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then top up with remaining egg mixture, just until it reaches the edge of the dish again or near the top of the bread. You may not need it all.

Lightly brush the top of the bread with a bit of the egg mixture, then sprinkle a heaped 1 tsp. of white sugar over the top of each dish, especially on the top crust edge.

Place dishes on baking sheet (to catch any overflow!) in to preheated 350° oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. (*You may want to check at 25-30 minutes in case it’s browning too quickly, in which case, just lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top while it finishes baking.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. If not eating right away, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

While puddings are baking, make the brown sugar sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Allow to come to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it comes to a boil, cook another few minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and pour in to a bowl or pitcher.

Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Can be re-warmed in the microwave/saucepan to serve.

Serve puddings at warm, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed in the microwave, topped with warm brown sugar sauce (*You’ll want to place your small dishes on a plate, as the brown sugar sauce will most likely spill over the sides when poured on top).

Peaches and Cream Cake

2/3 cup white sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp whole milk at room temperature
6-7 fresh peaches

Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform, use a regular round 8 or 9-inch cake pan, but note that you will not be able to remove in one piece from this type of pan). If you’d like to later remove the cake from the base, be sure to line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside of the greased pan with a bit of brown sugar. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a piece of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 355° F.

Peel peaches and cut flesh off sides, then cut in to chunks (don’t have to be too small). Set aside.

Melt the butter and let it cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the vanilla and (coolemelted butter until combined. Add the milk and then the flour sifted with baking powder. Gently fold peaches into the batter.

Pour in to the prepared pan. (*You’ll know you have enough peaches if they poke above the batter when you pour it in the pan. If not, maybe add another). If you like, you can sprinkle the top with white sugar before baking for a sweet top crust.

Bake in preheated 355° oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, refrigerate in the pan if you are making ahead. To eat right away, run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Slice and serve cool, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed, garnished with a dusting of icing sugar or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Peaches and Cream Crumble Cake

For the cake:
2 cups cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into 6-8 pieces
3 medium peaches peeled and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream 35%, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Icing/Confectioner’s Sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 360° F. and grease an 8-inch springform pan. If you want to easily remove the cake from the base to a serving platter easily, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, as well. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.

Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared peach slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for a further 25 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 25-30 minutes. Note that the cake will be sunken in the middle, even when it’s “done”. As long as it’s not jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 70-75 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

Skillet Peach and Blueberry Cake (with other fruit variations)

For the cake batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
1 peach peeled, pitted and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup fresh blueberries or a bit more, if you like
For the top of the cake:
2 peaches unpeeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Turbinado white or brown sugar, for sprinkling over-top

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix in. Scrape down side of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Fold chunks of peach and 1/2 cup blueberries in to the batter, then spread the batter into a greased skillet (10-inch top diameter works well) or a 9-inch cake or springform pan. Arrange peach slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter, around the outside of the cake. Fill the centre with a mound of blueberries.

Bake in pre-heated 350 F. oven for 45-50 minutes, or until deep golden and a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean.

Peach Raspberry Almond Cake

Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 Tbsp self-raising flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt omit if you used salted butter
2 ripe but firm peaches cut into 12 large wedges (peeled or not, as you like)
3 1/2 oz. fresh raspberries
1/4 cup flaked almonds

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar

Line a 7×11-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. (Alternately, you could use a 9×9-inch baking pan. As cake will be a bit thinner, expect baking time to be a bit less, so adjust accordingly.)

Preheat oven to 355 F.

Prepare your peach wedges by cutting 6 generous wedges from each peach and set aside.

On the stovetop, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the flour, ground almonds and salt.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Lay the peach slices on top 3 wide and 4 long, so that each finished piece of cake with have a full peach slice on top. Scatter the raspberries over-top, then sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, then loosely cover top with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake a further 15-20 minutes, or until a tested comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack.
.
When mostly cooled, cut into 12 squares, dividing the cake into thirds from the short end and quarters along the longer side.

Enjoy slightly warm or allow to cool completely. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (Variations with Other Fruits)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt 1/4 tsp less if you using salted butter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb strawberries hulled and halved
Confectioners’/icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in middle of oven. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, 9-inch round baking pan or a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well, mixing in any stray flour. Spoon the batter in to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the strawberries in a randomly in a single layer on top, with the cut side down.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly, then serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners/icing sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Notes: Change it up with other fruits as they come in to season.

No buttermilk? Make your own by adding 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice to a scant 1/2 cup regular milk. Let stand for 10 minutes and use in this recipe.

Coconut Pandan Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients
1/2 cup chia seeds
1.5 cups hot water
14 ounce full fat coconut milk canned
1/2 teaspoon Pandan extract
1/3 cup sweetener or sugar

Mix the hot water in with the chia seeds. Using hot water causes the chia seeds to absorb the water and swell much faster than tap water–which means your pudding will be done sooner and you can eat sooner!

I mean, that’s really the only thing you need to know. Other than that, mix everything together, and let it chill.

The chia will make it gel and set into a pudding, and coconut milk will make it creamy, and the pandan will make it delicious.

3-Layer Magic Cake

4 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
8 tbsp butter unsalted and melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk lukewarm *
powdered sugar for dusting cake

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper so that it’s easier to get the cake out.

Separate the eggs and beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two after which you can add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.

Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together.

Add the egg whites to a mixer and mix until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg whites to the cake batter and gently fold them in. Another variation to folding in the egg whites would be to whisk them in to the cake batter, this is a lot faster and easier. Make sure you don’t fold the egg whites in completely, you still want to see some of the white bits floating at the top.

Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 40 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. The baking time could vary greatly depending on the oven, so take a peek at around 40 minutes and see how it looks.

Sprinkle some powdered sugar after cake has cooled.

Orange Bundt Cake

2 sticks (225g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
3 large eggs
2 oranges (about 1 pound/450g), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeds removed
2 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups (185g) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice, from half an orange

Heat the oven to 325°F (165°C) with a rack positioned in the center. Butter a 10-cup (2.37L) Bundt pan.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one by one.?

Pulse orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not completely puréed. Spoon out 1 1/2 cups (355ml) of the pulpy orange mixture and add to the batter, then beat until blended.

Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and beat just until smooth. Scrapte the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the cake is risen and firm to the touch, and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just crumbs clinging, about 55 minutes.

Cool the pan on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.?

Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Once the cake is cool, spoon the glaze over the top. Let the glaze set, then slice cake and serve. Store any leftovers airtight at room temperature.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), soft but cool, about 65°F (18°C), plus more for greasing skillet
4 1/2 ounces white sugar (2/3 cup; 125g)
8 ounces light brown sugar (1 cup, gently packed; 225g)
1 ounce malted milk powder (about 1/4 cup; 25g); see note
1/2 ounce vanilla extract (1 tablespoon; 15g)
2 teaspoons (8g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 large egg (about 1 3/4 ounces; 50g), straight from the fridge
12 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal (2 3/4 cups, spooned; 355g)
12 ounces assorted dark, milk, or white chocolate (not commercial chips), roughly chopped (about 2 cups; 395g)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F (200°C).

Combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar, malted milk powder, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

With mixer running, add egg and continue beating only until smooth.

Reduce speed to low and add flour all at once, followed by chopped chocolate, then mix to form a stiff dough.

Generously butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet, then fill with cookie dough and press into an even layer.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool until crumb is set, about 45 minutes, before serving.

Enjoy warm or cover with foil and store up to 3 days at room temperature.

Pressure Cooker Carrot Halwa

2 tablespoons ghee
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons cashews, raw and unroasted
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup Splenda, Truvia or sugar
2 tablespoons cashew flour (you do this to add a little thickness to the milk)
1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom

Melt ghee in your Instant Pot, and then add the cashews and raisins. Fry them until the cashews are golden brown.

Add all other ingredients except cardamom and cook at High Pressure for 10 minutes. Let it release pressure naturally.

Open up the lid and do not freak out at the curdled milk. It will homogenize shortly. Just stir it up really well.

Smoosh the carrots together a bit, and cook on Sauté for a few minutes to thicken the mixture.

Add the cardamom and let it rest for a while to thicken up. This can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature.

Feel free to pour in a little heavy cream or half and half if you’re trying to add fat to your diet–or taste to your life.

Swedish Almond Layer Cake

6 egg whites (reserve the yolks for the frosting)
200 grams superfine (caster) sugar, divided
200 grams almond flour
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the frosting

200 milliliters heavy whipping cream
75 grams superfine (caster) sugar
6 egg yolks (from above)
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
150 grams unsalted butter, softened

First, make the custard for the frosting (it needs to cool fully): Whisk together the cream and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until just barely simmering.

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and vanilla extract.

Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly so as to not cook the eggs.

Once combined, transfer the custard back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat (whisking constantly) until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This will take about 5 minutes, or more depending on the heat level.

Once thickened, transfer the custard back to the heatproof bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface (so a skin doesn’t form), and let cool fully in the fridge.

While the custard cools, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350? and grease and flour (or line with parchment) two 8″ round cake pans.

In a clean bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff.

Scatter half of the sugar over the egg whites and whisk to combine.

Whisk in half of the almond flour (the mixture will deflate slightly at this point; that’s fine).

Using a spatula, fold in the remaining sugar, almond flour, almond extract, and all-purpose flour.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Finish the frosting by beating the softened butter until very light and fluffy.

Slowly add the cooled custard with a pinch of salt and beat until spreadable. If it seems too soft, chill in the fridge for 20 minutes then try beating it again.

To assemble the cake, spread a layer of frosting over the first cake layer, top with the second cake layer, then frost the tops and sides.

Amaretti

Makes about 20 cookies

3/4 ounce (20g) dry apricot kernels (or use 3/4oz/20g ground almonds plus 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 3/4 cups (200g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more for rolling
1 3/4 cups 1 tablespoon (180g) ground almonds
2 1/2 ounces (70g) egg whites (about 2 egg whites)

In a food processor or spice grinder, grind the apricot kernels together with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar until you have a fine meal. (Or mix the 20 g 3/4oz ground almonds plus 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract).

Transfer to a large bowl and add the 180g| 1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon ground almonds and the rest of the sugar. Stir to combine.

In a smaller glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold them into the dry ingredients until it all comes together into a sticky but even ball of dough.

Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Next, preheat the oven to 180°C |350°F |gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with parchment.

Scoop a scant tablespoon of dough (about 20g | 3 /4oz) and work it between your palms to form a ball. Roll it in icing sugar, shake off any excess, flatten it slightly and set it onto the lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest. Ensure a couple of centimeters between each cookie—if one tray is not enough, bake in 2 batches, keeping the remaining dough in the fridge while the first batch bakes.

Place the tray in the upper middle part of the oven. Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden and wrinkly. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or metal tin for up to 2 weeks.

Note: Apricot kernels, or else bitter almonds (armelline), are definitely worth seeking out for this recipe. They are known for being poisonous when ingested in high amounts, but the dose listed here is far from lethal. If you can’t find them, a few drops of almond extract make a fine substitution; just use more almond meal to make up for the weight difference.

Basic Crepes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (10 fluid ounces; 280ml)
1 cup flour (5 ounces; 140g)
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (1/2 ounce; 15ml), plus more for cooking
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon (8g) sugar, if making sweet crepes
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chervil, or chives (optional; for savory crepes)

For the Batter: Combine eggs, milk, flour, melted butter or oil, salt, and sugar (if using) in a blender. Start blender on low speed and increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add herbs (if using) and pulse to combine. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.)

To Cook: Heat a 10-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lightly grease with oil or butter, using a paper towel to wipe out the excess.

Hold the pan’s handle in one hand and pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60ml) batter, swirling and tilting pan immediately to spread batter in a thin, even layer over bottom of pan.

Let cook until top looks dry, about 20 seconds. Using a thin metal or nylon spatula, lift one edge of crepe. Grab that edge with the fingers of both hands and flip crepe. Cook on second side for 10 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill crepes as desired (such as with butter, sugar, and lemon juice; with butter and jam; with ham, cheese, and eggs; or with spinach and feta) and serve. Crepes can also be made ahead and stored, unfilled and wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a nonstick pan to serve.

Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake

2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup limoncello liqueur
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
16-18 ounces lemon wafer cookies
Lemon zest curls for garnish

Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the cream, mascarpone, sugar, limoncello, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix on low speed to begin, gradually increasing speed until firm peaks form.

Use an 8-inch springform pan to assemble the cake. You will be making 4 layers each of cookies and of filling.

Begin with a layer of cookies, overlapping to insure a solid base with no spaces between the cookies.

Next, add 1/4 of the filling and smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat the cookie-filling layers 3 more times, finishing with the cream filling on top of the cake.

Smooth carefully with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, run a knife around the sides of the cake and remover sides of the springform pan. Using 2 spatulas, carefully lift the cake off the springform bottom. Place cake on a stand or plate. Garnish with lemon zest curls, cut and serve while still cold.

Almond Florentines

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 1/2 cups skinless sliced blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and honey; stir until dissolved and smooth. Stir in the heavy cream for a few minutes, forming a light caramel. Turn off the heat. Stir in the almonds until they are all well coated.

Use about a third of the mixture to fill the bottoms of the muffin wells, compacting each portion into a disk. Bake (middle rack) for 8 to 9 minutes, until bubbling and just golden brown at the edges.

Let cool in the muffin pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then use a small offset spatula or table knife to release each florentine; some may still be a little flexible. Transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper to cool and set completely.

Repeat with the remaining almond mixture. If you are using foil liners, replace with new ones for subsequent batches.

Gingerbread Ornaments

5 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses
2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil

In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Stir well to mix.

Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition. Scrape down bowl and beater.

Lower speed and beat in about half the flour mixture. Beat in all the molasses then scrape bowl and beater. Add the remaining flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, and beat after each addition until it has all been absorbed.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the dough a final mixing with a large rubber spatula. Scrape half the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and press it to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap the dough securely and repeat with the remaining dough. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or for up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Unwrap one of the pieces of dough and cut it in half. Rewrap one of the halves and return it to the refrigerator.

On a floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut the cookies. As they are cut, place the cut cookies on the prepared pans with about 1 inch between them on all sides. Repeat with remaining dough. Save, press together, and reroll scraps (they don’t need to be chilled before rerolling).

Bake the cookies until they become dull and dry looking and feel slightly firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake the cookies or they will be very dry. Slide papers from pans onto racks to cool.

Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing
(Source)

1 pound of confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and egg whites.

Mixing on low speed, add up to 1/2 cup water depending on the desired consistency. Mix until icing holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.

Place the icing in different piping bags with a small tip for tracing the contours and a larger one for filling each shape.

Pressure Cooker Cannoli Cream Rice Pudding

2 1/2 to 3 cups whole milk
1 to 2 cups water
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel or orange peel

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the milk, 1 cup of the water, the rice, sugar, butter, the anise seed (to taste) and the salt in the pot. Lock the lid onto the machine and bring to high pressure (9 to 11 psi). Cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Turn off the machine or unplug it to allow the pressure to come back to normal naturally, about 20 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.

Whisk together the egg, egg yolk, cream and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until creamy and light. Slowly whisk in about 1 1/2 cups of the hot rice pudding, until smooth, then return that tempered mixture to the remaining rice pudding in the pot. If the mixture seems too thick, add the remaining milk and/or water as needed. Stir in the candied lemon or orange peel. Partially cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. (The pudding will thicken a bit further.)

NOTE: For a stove-top pressure cooker, follow the directions for the electric cooker but cook at high pressure (15 psi) for 10 minutes, followed by a natural release (about 10 minutes). Continue with the recipe as written.

Chocolate Pizzelles

3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup melted butter

Beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt till smooth.
Add the cocoa and baking powder, again beating till smooth.

Add the flour, mixing till well combined. Add the melted butter, again mixing till well combined.

Bake pizzelle according to your pizzelle iron instructions. A tablespoon cookie scoop works well for scooping batter onto the iron; a level scoopful of batter is the right size for most standard pizzelle makers.

To make two-tone pizzelle: Prepare plain pizzelle batter, flavoring it with 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut flavor, if desired. Using a teaspoon scoop (which holds 2 level measuring teaspoons), drop a chestnut-sized ball of vanilla batter just below center in the cooking area of the pizzelle iron. Drop a slightly smaller ball of chocolate batter just above the center line, nestling it right next to the vanilla batter. Close the iron, and bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Meyer Lemon Pizzelles

Makes 40-50 depending on iron size

1 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
6 Large Eggs, room temp
2 Sticks of Butter, melted and cooled
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Pure Orange Extract
Zest of 3 Meyer Lemons
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
4 cups All-Purpose Flour, spooned into measuring cup

Combine the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until well incorporated. The eggs must be at least room temperature. Cold eggs will result in an unworkable batter.

Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the mixture, while mixing on medium speed.

Add the extracts then the zest.

On low speed, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Alternate between medium and low speed while beating in the flour. (turn it to low while pouring in the flour; medium to incorporate the flour before adding more). The batter should have a satin sheen to it, but should be light and stiff. If your batter is too liquid, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time until the batter is stiff.

Using a tablespoon scoop, place dollops of batter into the iron. Repeat 20-25 more times depending on iron size. The cookies take about 25-30 seconds in the iron. Fresh, hot cookies can be rolled or shaped into cups.