Tag Archives: Sugar

Strawberry Shortcakes

Want to know how we celebrate the arrival of Spring?

Ta Daaaaa!

This is how we welcomed the beautiful season of rebirth and renewal. The season that’s going to take away the winter blues and lead us on that path toward the long awaited sunshine of gorgeous summer days.

I am so excited to know that spring has finally arrived. Even if the weather outside is barely 40 degrees… I don’t care. It will get better. Soon.

The strawberries I picked up from the Farmers Market had to be used up somehow before they went bad, and the vote was between a strawberry trifle or a strawberry shortcake.

As you can see, the shortcakes won. The trifle can wait.

Besides, the strawberry trifle does not translate well on photos. I tried it once before and it was a disaster.

These shortcakes are pretty to look at and even better to eat. I wanted to keep this recipe simple and traditional thus, for the cakes, I made biscuits with a bit of flour, some neufchatel cheese and orange zest. Beautiful.

The strawberries sat in their juices with some sugar for about an hour, and the whipped cream came out perfect. I chilled it for about 30 minutes before I whipped it with my mixer. That’s the secret – chill it before you whip it.

Strawberry Shortcakes

You will need:

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 ounces (1/2 of a 8 oz. package) neufchatel cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon milk for brushing the tops

For the Strawberries:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

For the Biscuits:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and orange zest in a large bowl.
  • Pour in the neufchatel cheese and mash it with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • Stir in 1/3 cup of milk and form a dough.
  • Flour hands and divide the dough into 8 balls.
  • Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet or silpat.

  • With a glass flatten the dough balls to 1/2 inch thickness and brush the tops with milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Take out the biscuits and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
  • In the meantime prepare the strawberries.

For the Strawberries:

  • Once you have cleaned and sliced them, take 1/3 of the strawberries and mash them with a potato masher.

  • Add in the rest of the strawberries and pour in the sugar.
  • Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

For the Whipped Cream:

  • Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream by combining together the whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

For the Shortcakes:

  • Assemble the shortcakes by cutting the biscuits in half.
  • Place a tablespoon of the strawberry mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit and top with whipped cream.
  • Cover with the top half of the biscuit, and top it with whipped cream and a few more strawberries.
  • Serve immediately or put the cakes in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Advertisements

52 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

I have a pretty cool Dad. He is the one person that will give support whenever it is needed. Moral support, that is. I always admit to him that it is because of his support that I have often succeeded in most things that I attempted to do. All I need is his “OK”, and I’m almost at the finish line holding a trophy.

But, my Dad is also a very funny guy. He tries. Last night he called me and asked to talk to Ana, who is 20 months old. During their conversation (I wish I had taped her trying to tell him that we had cake), he asked her if mommy had prepared dinner.

She responded with, “kay! kay! kay!”. “Do you mean, cake?”. “Your Mama made cake?”. “DA!”. (Macedonian for YES!).

My dad was at the front door in 20 minutes? My mom right behind him. Anything for cake!

My mom though, the not-so-supportive one, as always, found a problem with the cake before she even tasted it. Before she even saw it!

“Tell me is this egg-free or something?!”. “Yes mom, it is…it’s Lent.”.  “Oh yeah… then it’s taste-free right?”.  “Woman, give it a chance!’.

So she did. Verdict? She loved it. That means a lot coming from someone like her: She is 110 pounds, and always has been, and will not put anything in her mouth that is labeled fat-free, dairy-free, etc… She’s just naturally thin. Lucky her!


If you love coffee, and if you love a cake to accompany that coffee, give this a try. It’s a very sweet and moist cake, with a delicious combination of orange and raisin flavors.

P.S. I made this after the sun went down so I wasn’t able to take pictures while I was making it. I apologize.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

You will need:

  • 4 cups Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Light Brown Sugar for the top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 375.
  • In a large, deep mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds, and zest.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the orange juice and the baking soda, then add it to the flour mixture; mix well.
  • Mix in the apple juice and vanilla extract.
  • Dust the bottom of 9×13 cake pan with flour, then pour in the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top with a handful of light brown sugar.
  • Put it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with a cup of Joe.

36 Comments

Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Honey Ginger Cookies

I needed to make  a quick trip to the grocery store last night, and as I was rushing through the aisles I literally ran into an old acquaintance and knocked down the cereal box that she was holding.

After the, “I’m so sorrrryyy! OH HI!! How are you!?”, we got into a catch-up chat and at one point during the conversation I asked her if she was following Lent.

Verbatim: “Are you following Lent?” Her response, “No!? What channel is that on?!?”

Before I allowed myself to LOL, I listened to my question in my head and it still sounded correct. I proceeded – with a chuckle – to rephrase my question and then we LOL-ed together. 🙂

Lesson learned: I’m not Grammar Girl. (I still don’t know if I worded that question correctly, and “LOL” has become a part of my every day lingo…)

…And speaking of Lent… here’s a batch of cookies that I make every year during Lent; they are mildly sweet, incredibly soft, and extremely tasty.

Honey Ginger Cookies

You will need:

  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of Sprite

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and ginger; mix and set aside.

  • In a separate mixing bowl combine the honey, vegetable oil, and sprite.

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until you get a shiny cookie dough.
  • Put the dough in the fridge for about half hour.

  • Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin.
  • Get a round cookie cutter to cut out your cookies and place the cookies onto a silpat mat or ungreased baking sheets.

  • Bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let stand on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  • Serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

65 Comments

Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Apple Walnut Cake with Simple Syrup

Monday morning. Hubby is at work, munchkin is taking a nap, and I am in the kitchen… Where else would I be? But, today’s kitchen duty is special; I am following a recipe to the “T”! Why? Because it’s my mother-in-law’s recipe. And you know what that means: it better be the best apple cake that I have ever made! 🙂

Fortunately Unfortunately, my in-laws live across the oceans, rivers, mountains, and seas, and they will not be able to taste my creation. But, don’t worry, their son is here and he will definitely know if this cake is like Mama’s, or not. We will find out soon. Munchkin and I are going to surprise him by taking a piece of this cake to him at work. He will be so excited!

And through the magic of the internet, soon is here (lunch with daddy was fun!) and the verdict is in: He loves it! In his own words, “Not quite like my mom’s…it must be the different climates, environment, oven (bla bla bla)…but I love it! It might even be better than mom’s!”. Cha-ching!

The only thing I did different was the addition of apple slices on top of the cake. Maybe that is why he thought it was better? Shrug

The cake really is delicious. Moist, light, and sweet. Thanks for the recipe, Mama!

My Mother-in-Law’s Apple Walnut Cake

You will  need:

  • 3/4 cup instant wheat grits
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 4 apples, grated

For the Simple Syrup

You will need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar

Garnish:

  • 1 apple, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, excluding the apples and walnuts.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  • Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and walnuts.
  • Mix it all together until well blended and let stand for about 20 minutes.

  • Put the mixture in a 9×13 cake pan and bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

In the meantime prepare the simple syrup.

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to completely cool.

When cake is done, let it cool for a couple of minutes.

  • Cut the cake into bars while it is still in the pan, then pour over the cooled simple syrup (see the bottom of the recipe for tips on simple syrup).
  • Let cake stand on the counter for 30 minutes so to absorb the syrup.
  • Lastly, cut an apple into thin slices, toss them in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, then arrange them on top of the cake. Drizzle a bit of the syrup on top of them.

About simple syrup:

If the cake is cool, you need hot syrup.

If the cake is hot, you need cold syrup.

37 Comments

Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Spring, is that you out there?!? Holy sun, I missed you!

Remember how I whined about the weather here, and here, and probably here? Well, whine no more because it is sunny and 56 degrees out there today!

This morning I woke up at my usual 6-ish, had a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and I took off. I was standing in front of the grocery store waiting for them to open at 7 am. I was there to pick up whatever I could find that would remind my kitchen of warmer days.

I saw some apples and pears, but they are not a reminder of warmth – that says cold weather. I also tasted the berries… um, no taste! It was as good as eating one of those plastic fruit arrangements that my grandma used to have as a centerpiece on her kitchen table.

I kept moving along the produce aisle and I laid my eyes on some pineapples. They looked really good – perfect golden color, they were firm, and they had a yummy sweet smell. I put one in my basket, paid for it, and came home just in time before my husband had to leave for work.

He left, Ana ate breakfast, and then the two of us (yeah, she helps in the process of making a bigger mess 🙂 ) got down to business.

You can tell by the lighting on these photos that I made this cake earlier in the morning – it was probably about 8:30 a.m. when I began to separate the eggs. That’s how eager I was to make something spring-ish as soon as possible.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

You will need:

  • 1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored, and sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted, divided
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter, but keep the sticks separated. That is, melt 1 whole stick in one bowl, and the other half of a stick in another bowl.
  • Brush a little bit of the butter on the inside of a 9 inch cake pan.
  • Mix half of a stick of butter (4 tablespoons), melted, with the brown sugar and add in 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
  • Pour the brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the cake pan.
  • Arrange the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set pan aside.

  • Stir together the flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Beat the whites until stiff.
  • Beat the yolks until lemony yellow.
  • Stir in the remaining pineapple juice, vanilla, and remaining melted butter.

  • Add this mixture to the flour mixture.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites.

  • Pour batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings.

  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Remove it by covering up the pan tightly with a serving dish and invert so that the pineapple side is up.

And once Ana went to take her nap, Mama made herself a fresh pot of coffee to enjoy with a piece of this amazing cake! I just wish it was Sunday, my “Eat Whatever The Heck You Want Day”, so I could have a few more slices.

54 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.