Dessert

Ricotta Cookies

Recipe: Ricotta Cookies

This classic Italian cookie is real crowd pleaser any time of the year. It’s easy to make and has a unique flavor.

Ingredients

  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and beat thoroughly. Add
    ricotta and vanilla; beat 1 minute.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients then combine with moist ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet (I use a melon ball to get a uniform size). The dough is
    sticky.
  5. Bake for 11-15 minutes until bottoms are light brown.
  6. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for the glaze until smooth. If too thick, add a bit more milk. You could also add lemon zest for additional lemony flavor.
  7. Once cooled, you can frost these with the glaze.

Personal Notes

This recipe makes a lot of cookies. It also works well halved.

Number of servings (yield): 75 cookies

Inspired By: Ricotta Cookies

Apple Berry Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

Recipe: Apple Berry Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

This is a great recipe for kids to make.

Ingredients

  • Cinnamon Chips:
  • 4 (7-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salsa:
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small orange
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For cinnamon chips, lightly spray tortillas with water. Combine sugar and cinnamon in flour/sugar shaker; sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; place in single layer on round baking stone. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove to cooling rack; cool completely.
  3. For salsa, peel, core, and slice apples. Cut apples into quarters; chop with food chopper. Slice strawberries and chop kiwi. Place fruit in 1 quart bowl. Zest orange and juice. Add orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar and apple jelly to fruit mixture, mix gently.
  4. Chill salsa and serve with cinnamon chips. Serve with cinnamon chips.

Zucchini Brownies

Recipe: Zucchini Brownies

Delicious and moist, these zucchini brownies will send you reeling with pleasure!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Cooking time (duration): 45 min

Number of servings (yield): 24

Inspired By: Zucchini Brownies
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Rhubarb-Raspberry Crunch

Recipe: Rhubarb-Raspberry Crunch

Rhubarb summer refresher. A yummy blend of rhubarb and raspberries surrounded by a brown sugar and oats crust. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or pour on some half and half.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and salt. Place rhubarb and raspberries into bowl making sure to completely coat them with dry ingredients. Pour into baking pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and oats. Cut in butter until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Spread on top of fruit mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender.

Cooking time (duration): 15 min

Number of servings (yield): 24

Inspired By: Rhubarb-Raspberry Crunch

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcake

Recipe: Key Lime Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 1 large lime (for 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice
Filling
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup Key lime juice
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • 4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
  3. Zest the lime and reserve 1 teaspoon.
  4. Juice the lime to obtain 2 tablespoons.
  5. Blend the eggs, cake mix, water, oil, coconut flavoring, lime zest and juice with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well blended.
  6. Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full.
  7. Bake the cupcakes until they are lightly golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 22 minutes.
  8. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.
  9. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before filling.
Filling
  1. Place the sweetened condensed milk and Key lime juice in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Pipe filling into cupcakes when completely cooled.
Icing
  1. Combine softened cream cheese, softened butter, lime juice, and zest in large bowl.
  2. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

Filling

  • 16 oz container strawberries, quartered or halved, depending on the size
  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (about 1 lb)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Topping

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch pie plate or 8×8-inch square baking dish (preferably glass or ceramic – the acidic filling can corrode a metal pan).
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or a food processor. Whisk or pulse to combine. Add cubes of butter and cut in with a pastry blender or pulse in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and mix or pulse until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured work surface and roll or pat to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on the filling.
  4. Alternately, add a little more milk to make a wet dough and drop by spoonfuls on top of the filling.
  5. Brush topping with beaten egg thinned with a tablespoon or two of water. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, then bake until filling is bubbly and topping is golden, about 45-50 minutes. Cover with foil if the topping starts to get too brown before the filling is done.
  6. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Inspired By: Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

Carrot Cake

Carrot CakeRecipe: Carrot Cake

This carrot cake has 40% less calories and 50% less fat the average carrot cake, yet it is still moist and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see note below)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Frosting

  • 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, toasted

Instructions

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. To prepare frosting and finish cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Personal Notes

Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Cooking time (duration): 70 min

Number of servings (yield): 16

Inspired By: Carrot Cake
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Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger

Recipe: Candied Ginger

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 pound fresh ginger root
  • 5 cups water
  • Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.
  2. Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
  3. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.

Cooking time (duration): 1 hr 15 min

Inspired By: Candied Ginger

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