Sunday, September 4, 2022

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

 Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies


I love chocolate and cookies with dark chocolate chips and nuts are a favorite of mine. I baked these cookies when visiting my in-laws. The cookies were so tender and cake like almost and full of rich chocolate flavor and not too sweet. The finely chopped walnuts gave the cookies a great crunch. The recipe comes from the back of the bag of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips. 



Yield: 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

3/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

2 Large Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 package (12 oz.) Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips

1 cup Walnuts, finely chopped (optional)




Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and light brown sugar; set aside.


Using a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream sugars and butter until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, vanilla extract, and mix on medium speed until incorporated.

Turn to low speed, and gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined.



With a spatula, fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, form and place dough balls on baking sheets spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set.

Wait 3 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool or if you are like me enjoy some cookies warm. 

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Lemon Meringue Pie

 Lemon Meringue Pie


I baked two Lemon Meringue Pies for my father-in-law when we visited this summer. He is a fan more of the lemon filling than the meringue, so I did not pile high the meringue in this recipe. The lemon is tangy and tart and silky smooth, and the meringue are like clouds of heaven in your mouth. The crispy crust with the yumminess of lemon and fluffiness of meringue makes this one of the best tasting pies ever. This is the reason I made two pies. I use a premade pie shell but if you have more time make the pie crust from scratch. Happy pie eating.


Pie Crust Ingredients

1 Marie Callender's Pastry Pie Shell


Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. 

Thaw the frozen pie shell for 10 minutes.

Using the tines of a fork, prick the bottom and sides of the pie shell.

Bake for 12-15 minutes; until browned.

Let cool completely before filling; about 30-40 minutes.


Lemon Pie Filling Ingredients

1 Jello Brand Cook & Serve Lemon Pudding Mix

3/4 cup Sugar

3 Egg Yolks, beaten (Reserve Egg Whites for Meringue)

3 cups Water


Directions

In a medium size saucepan on low heat, use a spatula and combine the Lemon Pudding Mix, sugar, 1/2 cup water and egg yolks.

Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water. Increase heat to medium.

Bring to a full boil stirring constantly. It will thicken quickly.

Cool for 5 minutes, then stir and wait 5 minutes and stir once more.

Pour the lemon filling into the pastry pie shell and set aside while you make the meringue.


Meringue Ingredients

3 Egg Whites

1/3 cup Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar


Directions

Heat oven to 400°F.

Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy.

Gradually beat in the sugar until stiff peaks form.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 15-20 seconds.

Immediately spread the meringue over the filling in the amount you desire.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the meringue has browned on top.

Cool at room temperature and place in the fridge to set for 4-5 hours to set.

Serve and enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, August 22, 2022

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding


My mother-in-law got this Corn Pudding recipe from a family friend, Tracy and I loved it when she made it as a side dish for Christmas dinner in 2019. I wanted to make this to accompany BBQ chicken thighs I baked. This corn pudding is also called corn casserole with the same ingredients just known by two different names. It is a simple dish to put together and best served warm. The melted cheddar cheese on top completes the dish. The best part is you do not need to use a mixer just add the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it all together and bake in the oven. If you love corn, you got to make this dish.



Ingredients

1 15.25 oz. can Whole Corn, drained 

1 14.25 oz. can Creamed Corn

1 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup, 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 8 oz. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix



Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. 

Grease 1 8x8 square pan.

Put the 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese aside.

Add the ingredients (except for the cheese) in a large bowl and mix until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top with a knife.



Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the cheese all over the top and return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until melted.

Take out of the oven. 

Let the corn pudding rest for 5 minutes and serve.

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Coconut Cake

 Coconut Cake

I have baked several Coconut Cake recipes over the years but one of my favorites is Ina Garten's recipe for its rich taste and perfect texture. It is always a crowd pleaser. For this recipe I use Unsweetened Shredded Coconut instead of Sweetened to reduce the sugar content. I also use Pure Vanilla Extract but if you want a whiter cake use Clear Vanilla Extract. You can also substitute the Almond Extract and use Coconut Extract, but I find the combination of Vanilla and Almond Extracts a perfect one. I baked this cake for a family gathering while on vacation. I hope you give this recipe a try.  


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans

2 cups Sugar

5 Extra Large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

3 cups All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 cup Milk

1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Strawberry Preserves (or any filling you prefer)


Frosting Ingredients

1 pound Cream Cheese, at room temperature 

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract 

1/4 teaspoon pure Almond Extract

1 pound Confectioners'/Powdered Sugar, sifted

6 ounces Unsweetened Shredded Coconut


Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. 

Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them with parchment paper. Grease again and dust lightly with flour.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Add the eggs into a small bowl; set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. 

With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time and incorporate. Scrape down the bowl once during mixing. 


Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. 

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. 

Turn off the mixer and fold in the shredded coconut with a spatula and combine.

Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans and smooth the tops with a knife. 

Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned, and a cake tester comes out clean. 

Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes with tops down onto a wire rack to finish cooling.


Frosting Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts on low speed. 

Add the confectioners'/powdered sugar and mix until just smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.


Assemble the Cake

If your cake has a dome on top use a serrated knife to cut it off to an even top.

To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate or cake turntable, top side down, and place parchment paper around the edges for easy clean up. 

Spread with preserves, filling or frosting. 


Place the second layer on top with the top side down, and generously frost the top and sides. 

To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with the shredded coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.

Serve at room temperature.

Ina Garten, Coconut Cake recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/coconut-cake-recipe-1947027

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Pasta Salad

 Pasta Salad 



I made this Pasta Salad to accompany a picnic lunch at my in-laws while we were on vacation. We had a family gathering and it was great seeing the family and finally meeting one of Allen's cousins and his wife. We sure missed my sister-in-law and wish she was with us, but she is in Africa. This Pasta Salad is very easy to make and has a rich flavor from the dressing and fresh parsley mixed in prior to chilling. It is a hearty dish that goes great with burgers, ribs, hot dogs, and chicken. The flavors develop if you chill for at least 3-4 hours.


Ingredients
1 16 oz. box Cellentani Pasta (or desired shape)

1 each Red, Yellow, Orange Bell Peppers, diced

1 10 oz Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half

1 8.75 oz. can Whole Kernel Corn, drained

1 2.25 oz. can Black Olives, sliced

1 Shallot, diced

1 cup + 1 tablespoon Italian Dressing or Light Italian Dressing

1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Coarse Salt

1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Olive Oil


Directions
Add water to a large pot, 1 tablespoon of salt and turn to medium-high heat. 

Once the water is boiling, cook pasta to al dente according to box directions, and drain. 

Set aside to cool or place pasta in an ice water bath for a few minutes then drain.

Rinse and dry the peppers, shallots, and parsley. 

Thinly slice and dice the shallot and peppers; set aside.

Chop the parsley; set aside.

Drain the corn and sliced black olives and pat dry; set aside.

Rinse, pat dry and slice the cherry tomatoes in half; set aside.


Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet on medium heat, add the peppers and shallot and sauté for 3-5 minutes; set aside to cool.

In a large bowl toss the cooled pasta, peppers, shallots, corn, and olives together. 

Add 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. Season to taste. 

Add 1 cup of dressing and combine. If desired add more in small increments. 

Add parsley and combine.

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and chill in fridge for 3-4 hours before serving. 

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Nut Muffins


When I buy bananas, I tend to pick them when they are green. Personally, I prefer to eat them when they are a little green. This week I ended up with really ripe bananas and made banana nut muffins. They are packed with flavor and the pecans give them a crunchy texture. You can use any nut you like but pecans were what I had in my pantry. The cinnamon-sugar mixture that top the muffins elevate the flavor profile. This recipe does not require a mixer and is so simple to do. The aromatics from the cinnamon while they baked was sublime. They are yummy. Enoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea. I hope you give this recipe a try.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins


Muffin Ingredients

1 2/3 All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

2 Large Eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2/3 cup Ripe Bananas (About 2 small bananas)

1/2 cup Pecans, chopped and toasted


Muffin Topping

1/4 cup Turbinado or Granulated Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled



Directions

Mash bananas; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

Chop pecans and toast in pan for about 10 minutes. Let cool; set aside.

Melt butter for the topping. Remove from heat to cool.

Heat oven to 375°F.

Grease bottoms of 12 regular size muffin pans or line with paper baking cups. I use Wilton Baking Spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil and eggs.

Stir with a spatula the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture and combine until incorporated.

Using a spatula fold in the toasted pecans.

Add the batter evenly to muffin pan.

Bake for 16-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Ovens vary so check the muffins at the 16-minute mark and adjust the baking time accordingly.

Place onto wire racks.

In a small bowl combine with spatula 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Dip each of the muffin tops into the cooled melted butter and then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Enjoy warm.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker, Banana-Cinnamon Muffins: 

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/banana-cinnamon-muffins/

-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, February 14, 2022

Coconut Layer Cake

 Coconut Layer Cake

For Valentine's Day this year I baked a coconut layer cake for Allen and me to indulge in. The first time I made this recipe was for my Winter Wonderland Cake.  I love coconut cake and the coconut flavor in this recipe is prominent from the coconut milk, coconut extract, and desiccated coconut. I adapted the Cook's Illustrated white layer cake recipe (link below) into a coconut layer cake. I replaced the milk to coconut milk and used coconut extract instead of almond extract. The coconut frosting is adapted from, The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2010 (pgs. 498-99). This cake is light and moist and has a tender crumb. The coconut taste is superb and the desiccated coconut all over the cake gives it a great texture. I used unsweetened desiccated coconut to cut the sugar content a wee bit. I also substituted granulated sugar for vanilla sugar which also brings out the flavor profile. For the filling, I used raspberry preserves, but you can use strawberry or cherry preserves/filling, pastry cream, coconut curd or whatever you prefer. The preserves bring out the coconut flavor and gives the cake a nice pop of color perfect for Valentine's Day. I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine's Day.


Coconut Cake Ingredients

2 1/4 cups Cake Flour, plus more for pans

4 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 3/4 cups Vanilla Sugar (or Granulated Sugar)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 cup Coconut Milk, canned and room temperature

6 Large Egg Whites, room temperature

2 teaspoons Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract



Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

Grease 2 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease and sprinkle with cake flour. Tap pans on counter to remove excess cake flour.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the coconut milk, egg whites, coconut and vanilla extracts; set aside. Take 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture and place it into a small bowl.

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix on low speed the cake flour, baking powder and salt until combined; about 1 minute.

Increase mixer speed to medium and add the softened butter to the flour mixture and beat until it resembles light crumbs; about 1 minute.

Turn mixer to low speed and add all but 1/2 cup of the coconut milk mixture then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, light and fluffy; about 1-2 minutes.

Scrape sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed: about 20 seconds.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture and beat until batter is combined; about 1 minute.



Add the batter evenly into the prepared pans, smooth the tops with a spatula or knife, and lightly tap the pans against the countertops two to four times to settle the batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs; 22-25 minutes.

Ovens vary so check the cake at 22 minutes or earlier and adjust the baking time accordingly.

Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes.

Cool for 20 more minutes, peel off the parchment paper and flip the cakes right side up onto wire racks lined with parchment paper; cool completely.

Take the cooled cake, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight or wait at least 1 hour if frosting the same day.

If you can chill the cake overnight, it will be easier to frost and not be as crumbly, and the flavors develop more as well.



Filling

Raspberry Preserves (or filling of your choice)


Coconut Frosting Ingredients

2 tablespoons Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 cup Coconut Milk, canned and room temperature

3 cups Confectioners/Powdered Sugar

Shredded or Desiccated Coconut (Unsweetened)




Coconut Frosting Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the cream, coconut and vanilla extracts, and salt.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and coconut milk mixture on medium-high speed until smooth; about 30-45 seconds.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually beat in confectioners/powdered sugar, then continue beating until smooth; about 3 minutes.




Frost Cake 

If the cake tops are not flat, use a large, serrated knife to remove the domes off the top of the cake.

Place 4-5 dots of icing on a cake circle and spread with spatula. This helps adhere it to the cake and prevent it from moving around.

Place one of the cake layers top side down on a cardboard cake circle. 

Place a non-slip surface on the cake turntable to keep the cake from sliding around. Place the cake circle with the first cake layer on the turntable.

Add some of the frosting to a decorating bag fitted with a large round tip like Wilton 12 or Ateco 808 to create a dam of icing inside the outer edge of the cake. This helps the filling from seeping out.

Using a spatula spread the raspberry preserves evenly on top of the cake layer inside the dam.

The filling should fill the dam halfway.



Add the coconut frosting on top of the filling and spread to an even layer to fill the remaining dam space.

Add shredded or desiccated coconut over the frosting.

Place the top layer top side down over the first layer and press lightly to adhere.

Frost the top and sides of the cake with a large spatula.

Cover the entire cake or use as much or little as you want of the shredded or desiccated coconut. Decorate as desired.

Chill the cake in the fridge for 2-3 hours and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.


For the Cook's Illustrated White Layer Cake recipe, visit Epicurious:

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/cooks-illustrated-white-layer-cake-50017374


-Sophia/Two Frys