Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every other Monday, I head to the local Fisher House and bake cookies.  If you are unaware of the mission of the Fisher House Foundation, the Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  It is great to donate my time and my love of cooking to this terrific organization.  When I am finished each time, the house has the smell of fresh baked cookies, a full cookie jar, guests who appreciate a touch of home after a long day and a smile on my face.  It is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences I have had.  I have been compiling a group of cookie recipes from my Monday cookie baking.  I made these last week – I hope you enjoy them.  

chocolate chocolate chip cookies

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2 cups flour
  7. ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in one egg until completely incorporated; beat in last egg along with vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just incorporated; mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 2-inch balls, or drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until edges of cookies are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Dust warm cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.
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Apricot Almond Tart

I have to admit that I prefer to serve fruit based desserts after dinner.  I think they are the perfect ending to a meal, I also prefer to serve small portions so everyone can enjoy a small sweet treat after an enjoyable dinner.  This time I was pairing a dessert after an Indian inspired meal.  I served this Apricot Almond Tart and it was a perfect ending to the meal.   I served it straight from the refrigerator with a small dollop of peach ice cream.  Oh so cool and refreshing…a great combination.

apricot almond tart

 

Apricot Almond Tart
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. CRUST
  2. 1 1/4 cup flour
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  5. 1 egg yolk
  6. FILLING
  7. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  8. 1/2 cup sugar
  9. 6 ounces almond paste
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 2 teaspoons flour
  12. TOPPING
  13. 2 14 oz. cans apricot halves, drained
  14. 4 tablespoons brandy
  15. 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  16. 1/4 cup pineapple preserves
  17. Sliced almonds, toasted
Instructions
  1. Crust - mix flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or food processor, combine butter and egg yolk. Add flour and sugar combination and blend until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Spread into a 10 inch springform pan. Press mixture into plan. Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the tart filling. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add almond paste in small pieces and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour. Pour mixture over prepared crust and bake 20 minutes. Remove tart from oven, carefully place apricot halves on the tart. In a small saucepan, heat preserves, remove from heat, stir in brandy. Spoon over tart. Sprinkle with almonds. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
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Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Well, I definitely bought more peaches than I needed this past Saturday at the Farmers Market.  It was just one of those impulse buys where the peaches were ripe, the samples were delicious and when I asked if they had peaches ready to use – they headed to their “chefs box” and handed me beautiful ripe peaches.   I few years ago, I purchased an ice cream maker that has proved to come in very handy in the kitchen.  If you do not have an ice cream maker, it is a great kitchen gadget to have.  You keep the liner in your freezer and when you are ready to make ice cream, you simply pour in the chilled ice cream mixture and in approximately fifteen minutes, you have delicious homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt. So, ripe peaches called for my second peach recipe of the week – Fresh Peach Ice Cream.  Cool, creamy and delicious….perfect for these hot steamy July days.   I can’t wait to see what I find this week at the market!

fresh peach ice cream

 

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 3 large peaches, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1 1/4 cup half and half
  4. 3/4 cup sugar
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Combine peaches and sugar, set aside for one hour. Puree peach mixture in a blender ( I like large chunks of peach remaining, however, you can puree until the mixture is smooth is you prefer). Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate until well chilled. Process in your ice cream maker as directed.
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Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping

Another great find at the farmers market this week – perfectly ripe peaches.  How could I possibly pass those by?  Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping is the perfect recipe for these gems.  This cake features a moist cake layer topped with fresh peaches and a crumble topping.  Delicious served with coffee for brunch or a delightful summer dessert.  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a wonderful summer treat.

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping
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Ingredients
  1. Crumble Topping
  2. 3/4 cup flour
  3. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  8. Cake
  9. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  10. 1/2 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  14. 1 1/4 cup flour
  15. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  16. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  17. 3 - 4 large peaches, peeled and sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10" baking dish.
  2. Combine topping ingredients and set aside.
  3. To prepare the cake layer- in a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth, beat in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. The batter will be stiff. Smooth the batter in the prepared cake pan, top with sliced peaches. Crumble the topping over the peaches.
  4. Bake 35 - 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before cutting into pieces.
Notes
  1. To easily peel peaches, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Carefully lower the peaches into the boiling water and boil for 20 seconds. Remove peaches and place in a bowl of ice water. Remove and peel.
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Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

These are the perfect brownies for the upcoming holiday weekend.  The Fourth of July is a great time for a picnic and fireworks.  These Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies are moist and easy to transport.  I am thinking hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, and Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies this weekend!  It’s time to celebrate!

cream cheese swirled brownies

 

 

Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies
Yields 16
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  4. 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 tablespoon flour
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 3/4 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup flour
  12. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  15. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  16. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 inch square pan.
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter. Easy way is to microwave for 30 seconds, stir.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of softened butter, cream until fluffy. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend well, set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, Beat the 2 eggs and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in melted chocolate, nuts, vanilla and almond extracts. Spread 1/2 into prepared pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer. Spoon remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Cheesecake Pie with Fresh Fruit Topping

I can’t think of a more perfect dessert than a cheesecake.  This recipe is from my stash of recipe cards and a family favorite.  I like to use a single-crust pie crust for this pie but you could also use a graham cracker crust.  Cheesecake Pie with Fresh Fruit Topping has three layers, a cheesecake layer, sour cream layer and fresh fruit topping.  This time I used blueberries but you certainly could use fresh raspberries, strawberries, peaches. or other fruit for the topping.  

cheesecake pie with fresh fruit topping

 

Cheesecake Pie with Fresh Fruit Topping
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Ingredients
  1. 1 single pie crust - line pie pan with crust, prick many times with a fork, and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes
  2. Pie Filling
  3. 2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. Sour Cream Layer
  9. 1 cup sour cream
  10. 1/4 cup sugar
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  12. Fruit topping
  13. 1 cup sugar
  14. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  15. 3/4 cup water
  16. 2 cups fresh fruit
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl combine Pie Filling ingredients - cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until light and smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes. While pie is baking, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla, set aside.
  2. Remove the pie from the oven after it has baked for 35 minutes, top with sour cream mixture, spread evenly over the top of the pie. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool until room temperature.
  3. Fruit filling - in a medium sauce pan combine 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 3/4 cup water and 1/2 cup of the fresh fruit. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute stirring frequently. Remove from heat and strain.
  4. After the pie is cool, top with remaining fresh fruit and drizzle 1/2 of the fruit glaze over the fruit. Refrigerate pie until serving. Serve with additional glaze.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Berry Cobbler

This is the time of year when the minute you walk into the grocery store you are immediately surrounded by fresh berries.  This time I was immediately hooked when the sign said buy one – get one free.  Well, how could I pass by that offer – so into my cart went fresh red raspberries and blueberries.  When I got home I mentioned that I was thinking of making a cobbler and the immediately response from my husband was “sounds delicious”.   This time I baked my cobblers in two 5 inch ramekins, you can also make one cobbler in a 9 inch baking dish.

Berry Cobbler

 

Berry Cobbler
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh red raspberries
  2. 2 cups fresh blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Place the berries in a buttered 9 inch baking dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Combine the flour, butter, egg and 1 cup sugar in a bowl and mix well. Spoon over the fruit and spread to the edges of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 - 60 minutes or until golden brown.
Notes
  1. I always place my baking dish on a foil lined baking sheet to catch the overflow of berries.
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Raspberry Coconut Bars

This recipe was one of my mom’s “go to” recipes.  Easy to prepare, basic ingredients and delicious.  A great shortbread type crust, gooey filling and light crunchy topping.  She never used a mix or can of soup in her recipes, scratch baking at it’s best!   I sure was lucky growing up with such a great cook in the kitchen.

raspberry coconut bars

 

Raspberry Coconut Bars
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. Crust
  2. 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites)
  5. 1 1/2 cups flour
  6. Filling
  7. 2 egg whites
  8. 1/2 cup sugar
  9. 1 cup raspberry preserves
  10. 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  11. 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until well incorporated. Gradually add flour. Pat into a ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake 25 minutes, cool slightly.
  2. Spread baked crust with raspberry preserves and sprinkle with coconut.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the nuts. Spread this mixture over the baked layer that is topped with raspberry preserves and coconut and return to oven for 12- 15 additional minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Candied Oranges

Sometimes I think my kitchen is more of a chemistry lab than a kitchen.  I love candied oranges, however, they are definitely pricey when you see them and not readily available.  So, I thought I would try my hand at making candied oranges.  They are the perfect accompaniment to a cheese tray, great to chop and mix in muffins or quick breads, an interesting addition or garnish for cocktails, delicious served with whipped cream mixed with brandy, serve sliced with an after dinner cordial and my latest concoction – chop two candied oranges and mix into one-half gallon of vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate sauce.  Below I have highlighted another fantastic Virginia food find I came across Willie Byrd Chocolate Sauce , I heated and topped my candied orange ice cream with this and all I can say is…  unbelievably delicious!

candied oranges

candied orange ice cream  

 

Candied Oranges
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 6 seedless oranges, score rind
  6. Juice of 1/2 lemon
Instructions
  1. In a heavy sauce pan that will hold 6 oranges snugly, combine water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add oranges, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours. Turn oranges every 1/2 hour. After 2 hours, remove the lid and bring the syrup with the oranges in it to a boil. Boil until the syrup is thick, this will take about 10 minutes. Turn oranges frequently so they do not brown. When syrup has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and let the oranges cool in the syrup. Turn the oranges so the syrup coats the oranges as they cool. Refrigerate the oranges when completely cool. Candied oranges will keep for at least 2 weeks refrigerated.
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Rum Baked Pineapple with Vanilla Cream

This dessert tastes as great as it looks.  When you are looking for a “WOW” dessert – this is it.  You can make everything in advance and bake the pineapple just prior to serving.  (I cut two pineapples in the photo below since I was serving 10). The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the pineapple!

rum baked pineapple

 

Rum Baked Pineapple with Vanilla Cream
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large pineapple
  2. 4 tablespoons dark rum
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. Sauce
  5. 2 cups half and half
  6. 1/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 whole egg
  8. 2 egg yolks
  9. 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Cut one slice off of the pineapple leaving the top intact. Scoop out insides of pineapple, cut pieces in approximately 1 inch cubes, discard core. Carefully cut the pineapple, you do not want to pierce the shell. Toss pineapple chunks with rum and brown sugar. Return chunks to pineapple shell top with reserved slice. Wrap green top with foil. If preparing early in the day, the pineapple will keep at room temperature. When ready to serve, bake pineapple in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until warm. Drizzle with chilled vanilla cream.
  2. VANILLA CREAM -In a medium saucepan, scald half and half (heat until tiny bubbles form around pan) Cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and whole egg. Add egg yolks, cornstarch, and vanilla. Beat well. Slowly add 1/2 cup of warm half and half to egg mixture. Beat constantly. Then slowly pour egg mixture into cooled half and half while stirring with a wooden spoon. Return to medium low heat, stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Cool. Refrigerate until serving.
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