Thursday, January 28, 2010

Super Simple Raspberry Sauce

Valentine's day is looming just around the corner, which got me thinking about things that go together like: Romeo and Juliet, Ozzie and Harriet, Fred and Ginger, Hubs and Me. (sappy I know!) Naturally this got me thinking of my all-time fav food pairings as well. Spaghetti and meatballs, peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, and the list could go on and on. Raspberries pair well with almost any dessert. Tart, tangy raspberries + dark rich chocolate = perfection! The great thing about making a fruit sauce is that frozen berries work just as well, if not better than fresh berries. So you can make a fruit sauce anytime, not just when the berries are in season.

I put the raspberry sauce between the layers of this vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting...yum!

This raspberry sauce is so simple and delicious, you'll want to have it on hand all the time. It should hold for about 2 weeks if kept refrigerated. I keep it in the fridge in a plastic squeeze bottle which makes it easy to use anytime.

Raspberry Sauce   (printable recipe)

Yield: about 1 cup
12 oz. (1 1/2 cup) frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

In a small sauce pan, combined all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the berries have broken down about 5 min. You can use the sauce now if you don't mind the seeds. At this point, while the sauce is still warm, I pour it into a sieve and strain out (most of) the seeds. To get a completely seedless sauce you will need to line your sieve with cheese cloth.

This raspberry sauce is very versatile. It's great on pancakes, yogurt and ice cream. It's also makes an amazing filling for a layer cake. Raspberry sauce elevates even an ordinary dessert into something special.

Drizzle it on your dessert plate with whatever your serving and you'll look like a pastry superstar!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Scrumpdillyicious Chocolate Chip Biscotti...

...or the continued effort to have our dessert and eat it too!

I have to confess that with most baked goodies I can maintain a certain amount of restraint. I bake lots of cupcakes and can take them or leave them.  This however is not the case with cookies. Fresh homemade cookies are like a siren's call to me, especially during the winter. The cold weather makes me want a piping hot cup of coffee and there's really nothing better with coffee than a cookie. This is really true if you're a dunker, like me. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite coffee dunking cookie. I really have no will power when it come to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I'll polish off three or four with a cup of coffee with no problem.
Anyway this winter has been the coldest one we've had since the ice age or something, and I been drinking potfuls of coffee. All this coffee drinking has had me craving chocolate chip cookies but haven't made any because I know I have zero cookie willpower. So I opted to make biscotti instead. This biscotti is lower in fat and calories than my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Not only does it taste great but the crunchiness biscotti makes it better than cookies for dunking into coffee.

As I was making these I realized that although I've eating lots of biscotti, I'd never actually made biscotti before. Well, I foresee lots of biscotti baking in my future!

Chocolate Chip Biscotti  (printable recipe)

Makes about 5 doz biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup sugar 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch ground cinnamon 
4 Tbls. cold  butter 
3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1 cup semisweet-chocolate mini chips, or regular 
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. With pastry blender, 2 knives used scissor-fashion, or quickly with your hands, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. 
Spoon 1 tablespoon beaten eggs into cup; reserve. Add chocolate chips, walnuts, vanilla, and remaining beaten eggs to flour mixture; stir until evenly moistened. With hand, knead mixture a few times in bowl until dough forms. 
On floured surface, with floured hands, divide dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a 9" by 2" log. Place logs crosswise, 4 inches apart, on 2 large cookie sheets. With pastry brush, brush tops and sides of logs with reserved egg. Bake logs 25 minutes. Cool logs on cookie sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. 

Place 1 log on cutting board. With serrated knife, cut warm log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices.

You will be tempted to just eat it right now as you slice it!


do what I did and eat the little end one will ever know!

Place slices upright on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining logs. Bake slices 15 minutes to allow biscotti to dry out. Cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Biscotti will harden as they cool. Store biscotti in tightly covered container.

Now brew a pot of coffee! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lightened Up Lemon Bars

It's that time of the year when we make those resolutions and try to change old habits. After all it's a whole new year decade! So I guess it's just the natural time to take stock and try to make changes for the better. Be more organized, don't procrastinate, eat less, exercise more...etc. All of which, in theory, are wonderful ideas. So why are they so difficult to put into practice? Especially the eating less and exercising more one. Cut back, eat less, no junk, work out = healthier life. Okay got the formula. It sounds so simple. Reasonable you might even say. Then how come almost no one sticks to the plan? Want the answer?? I'll let you in on a secret. It's because fat tastes GOOD.  Butter, cream, cream cheese, yum! Bring it on. They are all delicious, and quite frankly I wouldn't want to live in a world without butter. Still I would like to shed a few pounds and just be in all around better shape so I guess somethings got to give, at least a little.
These lemon bars are a lightened up version of the original. Typically the crust of lemon bars is a butter laden shortbread type crust. Nothing wrong with that but like I said somethings got to give! This crust is made with oats and only has 3 Tbl. of butter, compared to the 8 tablespoons in the original recipe and instead of 2 whole eggs you use only 1 egg and 1 egg white. Okay so there's still a bit of sugar but a lot less fat. So feel free to have your cake, or in this case lemon bar, and eat it too

Lightened Up Lemon Bars

For the Base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
3 tbsp butter

For the Topping:
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup sugar
3 tbs flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
Confectioner's sugar, sifted, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine flour, oats and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, add butter and blend until the mixture is crumbly.
Press crumbs into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes until edges are golden.
Meanwhile, whisk egg and egg white. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add flour, baking powder, salt and lemon; whisk until smooth.
Pour lemon mixture over pre-baked base. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until center is set.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 16 squares.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Best of 09

With the beginning of a new year, I thought I'd look back over the year past here at Half Baked. I decided to do a recipe round-up of my top ten posts. According to Google analytics these were my 10 most popular blogposts in 2009. Enjoy the walk down my food memory lane! Thanks to all those of you that read my blog. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year of baking in 2010. I hope you'll join me on the journey! Happy New Year!!!






Wow, it's been quite a year! Happy Baking!!