• Cook with Love and Kosher Salt

     

caramel apple cake

Make sure you check out a good photo of this cake on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe as this photo does not do it justice at all. Different from other apple cakes, this one has a terrific cream cheese layer laced throughout as well as a yummy glaze on top.  I made it around Thanksgiving and I keep…
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apple pan tart (simple)

Soooo easy, so simple, so apple-y, so flakey (the crust) so moist… just scrumptious.  Served this tart the other evening and friends Jason and Trent were ecstatic.  Well, that may be too strong of a word, but for grown men, they were all smiles.  I’m so happy I finally made an apple tart worth posting….
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triple chocolate chip cookie

I really really really like these cookies.  A lot a lot a lot.  Right up my alley with milk, white and semisweet chocolate – these, in my vanilla ice cream…well, my mouth is watering right now as I think about it.  I’m not sure what the others thought because honestly, I wasn’t listening because I…
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pumpkin pancakes again

Andy is slowly tiring of pancakes and I’m actually excited about it because it is much easier to make a fried egg sandwich in the early AM.  However the other day – he not only asked for pancakes, but pumpkin pancakes.  Because I have many new whole grain books, I decided to try a new…
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orange poppyseed pound cake

Yummy yum yum!  This was tasty.  Slightly dense, filled with poppy seeds – and covered in a delightful glaze – this was a winner.  Andy ate this up.  Said “I like this!”  And Sylvie kept taking slivers and announcing she was done each time.  I finally said, just take a piece and sit with it…
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vanilla wafers

LOVE these little gems.  Who knew that a vanilla wafer cookie could be so yummy.  Crisp, vanilla-y and so addictive you will likely need to double the recipe.  (Luckily I did.)   I must admit that my kids looked uninterested when they saw them on the counter – but as soon as they tasted them…
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baking tips

RANDOM THOUGHTS: If a dessert is dry or over baked – serve it with ice cream or whipped cream.  If a cake you can save it with a simple syrup – a flavored one that goes with the dessert – lemon, rum, coffee — and brush on the cake before you frost.  This is good…
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banoffee pie (just a really good banana pie!!)

AMAZING Jason exclaimed, eyes wide the other night after he had a bite of this pie.  He was so excited!  And today I got a text from him asking for the recipe because “that was so insanely good and I want to try to make it for Thanksgiving.”  So…I figured many of you may be…
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caramel apple jam

Thanks mom for sending me this recipe! MMMMmmmm….so delicious and warm and soothing and inviting.  Funny for a “jam” to be all that but it is!  Caramel, vanilla, and apples delightfully and simply combined.  Warm this up and pour over some vanilla ice cream and you have a winner.  Equally good on the savory side…
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how to cut, peel and core apples

Apples are soooo good – especially now.  And I know when you see that the ingredients read – 8 apples roughly chopped, your heart might sink a bit with the prep work.  So, here is the plan of attack.  First, put on some really good music. Cut the top and bottoms off of the apples….
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chocolate chocolate tea cake (moist and good!)

Yum yum yum – everyone said this is good!  Especially me as I nibbled and nibbled.  So good in my ice cream the other night.  Really good!  This was an especially sweet success after many baking failures this month.  Sylvie said this was the best thing I’ve made in a long while.  (Which was of…
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cinnamon apple cake

“This is the best thing you’ve made in a long time mom” Sylvie said last night as she indulged in her second nibble of the evening.  She said she needed more, but we both agreed that the cake would be here today (and it is) and to just stop (which is hard).   Everyone agreed…
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baking tips –

PAN PREP: It is really important to grease and flour your bundt pans.  For a bundt pan with many crevices, I soften the butter and almost melt it – then with a pastry brush I get in to all the nooks and crannies.  I love the Anniversary bundt pan from Williams-Sonoma and it rarely sticks.  And I also love the pans…
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brown sugar french toast

Every now and then a recipe lands on my desk.  Usually a chocolate recipe (often bittersweet – Rob pulls these) but this time it was (surprisingly) a french toast recipe.  Rob likes french toast but lately he is so health oriented that he will usually save his treats for chocolate (hence the chocolate recipes!)  But…
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macadamia nut shortbread crusted brownies – sorry forgot final photo

My mother loved these.  Loved loved loved loved.  She kept repeating this mantra “Oh my God I love these, Lisi these are incredible, oh my god I love these, Lisi these are incredible” as she nibbled again and again throughout the night and the next day.  The ground macadamia nuts in the shortbread base is…
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baking tips

chocolate Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford.  I like to use bittersweet chocolate in all recipes that call for dark chocolate as it has more flavor than semi-sweet.  I like Callebaut, Guittard, Scharffen Berger and Valrohna – but fiddle around and see what you like! Use a good quality milk chocolate –…
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baking tip

chocolate Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford.  I like to use bittersweet chocolate in all recipes that call for dark chocolate as it has more flavor than semi-sweet.  I like Callebaut, Guittard, Scharffen Berger and Valrohna – but fiddle around and see what you like! Use a good quality milk chocolate –…
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Wash fruits before you bake with them. Especially when you are using the fruit's zest.

baking tip –

Wash fruits before you bake with them.  Especially when you are using the fruit’s zest.  Try to use only the colored part of the zest – do not dig down with your microplane or grater because the white part – under the skin is very bitter. Pin It

bittersweet decadence cookies

“This is the most amazing cookie I’ve ever had.” “Lisi, you are the best” (obi my favorite comment :)) “The chocolate!” “I’ve never had anything so delicious.” “Lisi – please make these again.” “Mom, where did all the cookies go?” “Oh My God!” “No more cookies???” Do I need to say more?  I mean – seriously no other…
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blueberry sugar-cookie crisp

This recipe caught my eye big time!  Never saw sugar cookie crisp topping so I was thrilled (well, that word may be too strong) but excited to try this out.  Sweet success.  I knew it when I saw it.  It came from Oprah who is often right about “favorite things”.   The bottoms is a…
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baking tip

baking smart Pre-heat oven and let it reach baking temperature for best results.  Try to bake using the upper and lower thirds of the oven racks.  And remember it is best to rotate baked goods halfway through cooking. Pin It

peach cobbler (simple)

Ohmygoodness did I love love love this!  Just delightful.  Made this for Greg but he ended up not even trying it!  Crazy kid.  This is the simplest recipe and produces such a delicious result.  Perfect right now because the peaches are perfect lately (at least mine are!)  I really don’t have much more to say…
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many grain buttermilk pancakes – the best to date

A little molasses and nutmeg can go a long way towards happiness in the AM.  “Best by far” Rob exclaimed as he sampled one of these the other day while Andy was gobbling them up.  Even Greg tried them!  “They are solid” he said happily.  I think it has been about 5 years since he’s…
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baking tip

butter Use  good quality unsalted butter.  That way you can control the amount of salt in your recipes.  If a recipe calls for softened butter – it means softened, not melted.  Butter should be malleable – not so soft it looks greasy.  Leave out for 20-30 minutes before you bake for best results.  If you leave out too long,…
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lemon blueberry buckle

Oh boy.  Another goodie!  Success after too many sweets that were failures…so happy this is good enough to write about.  So – a blueberry cake with a hint of lemon followed by streusel and then a zingy lemon syrup.  Yum.  How could it not be?  This is great for afternoon tea of morning brunch treat….
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peach streusel coffee cake

Deeeelicious!   So good, so summery, so delightful to much on when the sun is out and you know summer is coming!  I’m lucky to have found such good peaches this early – and although Greg really wanted cobbler, I took the easy way out and made an easy cake.  And wow, good decision.  Although…
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Use bar chocolate for melting and use your chocolate chips for chocolate chips. Sounds obvious I know. Melt chocolate gently. As gently as you can. Melt it, do not cook it.

baking tip

This is true with all chocolates, but especially important with milk and white chocolates because these chocolates burn more easily than dark. Store chocolate in a cool, dry place.  Wrap it in foil once you have opened it.  You can freeze chocolate if you buy in bulk.  Bake chocolate cookies on parchment (versus the baking sheet) to…
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steel cut oats (the very best) don’t skip

Never ever ate any kind of hot cereal as a child, wanted to like it in my 30’s, enjoyed it in my 40’s but wow…at 47 I have found the exact hot cereal (n my case steel cut oats) that I craved (and didn’t even know I was craving it!)   I didn’t know that…
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brownies (another!) award winning

Enough is enough – I know – too many brownies.  I’m well aware that this is my 10th or 12th brownie recipe but I just love brownies.  I happen to love the guys from Baked and all of their books and recipes and stories.  So it makes sense that this recipe caught my eye.  I…
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NOEMA chocolate

This chocolate is made without peanut, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, as well as sesame.  NOEMA stands for None Of the Eight Major Allergens.  You can be worry free if you or your family suffers with allergies.  The equipment is brand new and has never touched any of the ingredients above. Check…
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Use salt! I prefer kosher salt - Diamond Crystal. It is easy on your palate. I like salt in most desserts – even just a pinch!

baking tips

salt If you are sensitive to salt, then pull it from the recipe.  And if using table salt (but try not to!) use a bit less than the recipe calls for.  If you are looking for a fine sea salt, try Malden – it is great with caramels and a lovely flake. Pin It

chocolate bundt cake

I really really liked this cake a lot.  A lot a lot.  I don’t usually love plain old chocolate cake but I must say again…liked it a lot!  Rob said “good cake!” and he is a hard one to please in that his cake should be moist, rich with chocolate flavor and well – that’s…
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things i love

Chocolations I love Chocolations in Mamaroneck.  Combine high quality chocolate, a warm and generous owner and chocolate maker, great staff and decent prices… well, what’s not to love?  They have so many delicious shaped chocolates (you can order almost any shape you want), barks, truffles and dipped yumminess that it is hard to pick.  I…
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chocolate brownie pie (flourless)

If the previous dense flourless cake didn’t float your boat, or if you are afraid of the water bath – then try this is instead.   Light and fluffy this  flourless brownie cake is simple to throw together and although less dense, brimming with chocolate flavor.  Use as a base for ice cream and I…
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flour-less chocolate cake (la bete noire)

The black beast lives up to its name.  Great for Passover – or really anytime (I made it for Rob’s birthday).  This cake is delicious, rich and satisfying.  It may seem daunting for a second (the water bath and layers of foil) but it is really easy.  Don’t be afraid and try.  I followed the…
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eggs

Try to bring eggs to room temperature when possible.  Place on counter 30-60 minutes before you bake. If you forgot then place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes. Use large eggs in most recipes – or what is specified. When you add sugar to eggs or especially egg yolks, you need to mix…
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oreo ice cream (not exactly homemade btw)

Growing up I was always looking for sweets to eat.  Unlike my brother who could manage his dessert quantities, I could not.  My mom took to hiding the goodies which resulted in my own secret treasure hunt when I was alone in the house.  Or picking on all the sweets that were not hidden.  The…
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chocolate covered pretzels

Another love – the chocolate covered pretzels from Enjou Chocolate.  These are my favorites because the chocolate is sooooo good and the pretzels are firm and fresh.  And although dipped generously, it is not overdone.  As usual, pricey – but def worth it! You can find them here.     Pin It

Taste batters. Just a little. You may have forgotten the sugar - or something else and when you taste it - you will realize and can save the cake/brownie/cookie etc!

baking smart:

Pre-heat oven and let it reach baking temperature for best results.  Try to bake using the upper and lower thirds of the oven racks.  And remember it is best to rotate baked goods halfway through cooking. Taste batters.  Just a little.  You may have forgotten the sugar – or something else and when you taste it –…
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banana crepes

As soon as I have a rolled up crepe I will post the photo and probably a video to help you make them – to see how easy they are. Andy Andy Andy – it is all about Andy and breakfast.  The other day I was kvetching to Melissa that he was so grumbly that…
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things i love – chocolate drizzled pop corn

So I make this myself and I love love love it.  But I know that many don’t feel like tempering chocolate so this makes it easy…buying it! Stever’s (they make those ridiculous marshmallows) makes an awesome drizzle popcorn.  First, the popcorn is fresh which is important.  Second, the milk chocolate is just so tasty and…
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Always peek at the recipe the day before you plan to bake it. Double check that you have all the ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator because for some reason it is extra annoying to rush out right before you bake. (At least I feel that way.)

be prepared

Before you bake (on the same day) – read the recipe again and set up ingredients.  This is called mise en place and in French it means everything in position.  That way you won’t forget to add ingredients because they will be weighed and measured and on the counter – in front of you.  This will also…
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guittard superchips

I love these chips.  My sis in law Kathy introduced us (me and chip) about a year and a half ago.  They are bigger than a Nestle chip, but flatter and stay softer in baked goods.  But I do love Nestle and Ghiradelli and many more! I searched the web (because I can’t find them…
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super s’more crisps

Sweet, marshmallowy, graham crackery and full of rich milk chocolate – these are quite good!  I found myself muttering “ridiculous, ridiculous”  as I kept going back for another bite and another.  I could not stop.  Obviously not a hit with Rob – my bittersweet chocolate loving spouse – but everyone else in the house loved them….
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warm double chocolate brownie cakes

I’ve been meaning to bake these for 5 years.  Clipped from the February 2009 issue of Food & Wine magazine — Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion.  Made with milk chocolate and cocoa powder, butter and eggs – these are fairly simple and quite delicious.  If the milk chocolate bums you out, you should…
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things i love – Lilac Chocolate covered graham crackers

We have taste tested many many many chocolate covered graham crackersand these ones from Li-Lac are probably our favorite.  Even better than mine! There is something about their chocolate that keeps us enchanted.  The coating is especially thin (like their All American Bars) yet very satisfying.  The whole big graham is coated so that too…
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cookie do roll up and freeze

You don’t have to bake all your cookies at once.  Bake some fresh and then freeze or refrigerate the dough for another day (or month!) Just take a piece of Stretch-tite (or any wrap) and spoon the dough into a long log.  Fold the plastic wrap over, then roll it up and you are set…
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lemon “brownies”

First – sorry this photo is so funky.  I was rushing and just took a quick one from my iPhone – and boy it is scary.  They look less electric than this and better in general.  Anyway… Wet and juicy, dense and lemony, these simple treats are worth your time.  (And they don’t take much…
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nutella blondies

Nice too for Valentine’s Day.  I was able to write these up quickly because they are soooo easy (seriously – 10 m) and a decadent treat for your loved one(s). Nothing fancy here but a solid mass of goodness in a square shape.  Easy, rich, and so very pretty these will hit your speed spot….
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bittersweet chocolate soufflé cakes (make ahead!)

I’m aware that this is a terrible photo.  Oh well… I realize I’ve forgotten about Valentine’s Day.  I did make little chocolate cakes today for a charity (well, and extra for my family) but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to write it up so fast that you can make it.  But – if…
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peanut cookie ice cream with choc crackle

Oh Ohmygoodness.  This was fantastic.  I loved it and dinner goers did too!  Lots of oohing and ahhing.  As mentioned in the peanut cookie post, I thought ice cream would be good.  And it wasn’t good, it was GREAT.  Phenomenal. To assemble: I used Turkey Hill Original Vanilla.  I like their vanilla  because it isn’t…
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choc espresso brownies (one bowl)

You have seen these before but with so many people turned off by white chocolate (although I’m serious when I say good quality white chocolate is delicious) I decided to make these with my semi-sweet super chips.  (Any semi sweet chips will do.)  And yummy yum yum.  Judy, Rob and I loved them.  (Although I…
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baking tips – cutting butter

If you need small pieces of butter (for pie dough or streusel), a bench scraper does the trick.  A scraper is great for clean up too.  Use it  (horizontally) to clean up crumbs and flour before you wipe down your countertops.  Google bench scraper and many will come up.  Or go to a kitchen supply…
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things i love – Lilac Chocolate All American Bar

All  American Bars from Li-Lac Chocolates. These are delicious.  Beyond good.  Greg and I have taste tested many or these bars often called “all american bars” or “s’mores” or “marshmallow bars” and well, these ones from Li-Lac Chocolate win.  There is something about the marshmallow,  it is light, fluffy and moist and not cloyingly sweet.  The…
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banana pancakes (healthier)

Andy has been eating these for the past month or so and just LOVING them.  True love.  But what used to be a cute and adorable desire for pancakes and waffles in the early AM (and my desire to find awesome healthy recipes) has slowly turned into a demand (on his part) and fatigue and…
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things i love!

Stevers Candies chocolate marshmallows.  These are scrumptious!  Truly.  A family fave. Eyes light up when I bring these gems out for company.  Friends eagerly ask “did you make these!?”  I reluctantly tell the truth and say no…I didn’t, but they are better than any candy I could ever make. I often order gift boxes for…
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peanut butter sandwich cookies w/milk chocolate filling

Yummy peanut butter cookies.  A little crumbly with shortbread-like texture and a serious dose of peanut butter flavor.  I’m baking for various people and organizations and I hope they like them since my family doesn’t like and generally won’t try peanut butter.  Well, Rob does, but he prefers a chewy cookie.  So this one is…
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Watch it! Baking time is to be used as a guide.

baking time

Watch it! Baking time is to be used as a guide.  The dessert is done when it is done.  I rarely use the time listed in a recipe.  Check often and before it is supposed to be done. Nothing is worse than an overcooked dessert (well many things are worse in life, but in baking this is probably it!)   Pin…
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cakey brownies

My “favorite fudge” brownies are great.  So great – they are, not bragging, but just the truth.  In ice cream still great but later, in bed, I’m not thrilled.  Too rich.  So when Melissa decided to make a sundae bar for New Years – I decided it was time to find a cakey brownie suitable…
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many people unintentionally add extra flour...

flour

Dry and tough cookies and cakes can be caused by badly measured flour.  Do not pack flour in (and shave with a knife) or shake your  measuring cup.  First aerate the flour with a spoon or whisk or chopsticks as Alice Medrich does.  Then lightly spoon flour into measuring cup – just filling it. A cup…
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cinnamon roll pound cake

I made this a long while ago and although I don’t remember much as I age, I do remember this cake!  Sylvie does too!  Rich, moist, and laced so pretty and tasty with cinnamon, this cake is worth the small effort it takes to bake.  The glaze is truly the icing on the cake (in…
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