Eat Your Cake and Have It, Too

brown sugar caramel pound cake. jpeg

Brown Sugar Caramel Pound Cake

This cake is soooo tasty that I had to share. Maybe you’ll make it this weekend.

Brown Sugar Caramel Pound Cake

1 ½ cups butter softened  (I used 1 cup instead)
2 cups light brown sugar, packed  (a bit too sweet, and I recommend cutting to 1 ½ cups)
1 cup granulated sugar (you may want to cut this, too, to ¾ cup)
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp salt per cube of unsweetened butter)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 8oz bag toffee chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325
Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mix to batter alternately with milk and vanilla, beat until just combined. Stir in toffee buts and pecans. Spoon batter into pan.

Bake 85 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. (Mine was done in about 77 minutes.) To prevent excess browning, cover cake with foil while baking. (For the first 50 minutes or so, I covered with foil, with slits in it to let out steam. Then I took off the foil.)

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool for 15-30 minutes on a wire rack. While it cools, make caramel sauce. (Or buy your favorite caramel topping and use that.) I used a recipe from Barefoot Contessa, below.

With a chopstick of some other stick, poke holes in the cake. Spoon Caramel Sauce over hot cake, letting it seep into the holes.

Barefoot Contessa Caramel Sauce: (for this cake, I halved the recipe)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I substituted whole milk, which makes this a runnier sauce–perfect for this cake)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5-9 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don’t worry – the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. The Barefoot Contessa suggests letting this sauce cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours, but I let it cool for about 10 minutes and used it!

Until Monday, and wishing you Happy Cake Eating,

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I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for… Pie!!!

butterscotch pie

Every time I look at this photo of this butterscotch pie I made, my mouth waters. This recipe calls for real Scotch. The alcohol cooks out and leaves a rich, nuanced taste that skyrockets this particular pie into food heaven. 🙂

It looks hard, but I promise you, it isn’t.

Butterscotch Pie

One 9-inch baked pie crust (recipe at the end… or use your own)

2 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups half and half (you could probably substitute whole milk to cut down on the richness)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue top)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Scotch whiskey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Meringue top:
3 egg whites
pinch salt
2 Tbsp sugar

In a large saucepan, combine milk and half and half and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, to caramelize the mixture. (You will smell a characteristic nutty-caramel flavor odor when the butter browns, signaling that the mixture is ready.)
Whisking constantly, gradually add the brown sugar mixture to the hot milk mixture. If mixture is not smooth, blend for 20 seconds with a hand mixer or pour through a fine sieve.
Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Whisk in cornstarch and salt until dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture back into the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Add the Scotch and whisk in.
Whisking constantly, cook over medium-high heat until thick and just boiling. When the mixture thickens, the whisk will leave trail marks on the bottom of the pot and the mixture will have a few large bubbles boiling up to the top.
Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour into the pre-baked pie shell and cover with meringue. Then chill at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whip whites and salt to soft peaks, then add sugar and whip until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy. Spread meringue on top of the slightly cooled pie and bake for five minutes or until lightly browned. Chill as above.

Crust (made in a food processor):
Makes enough for bottom and top or two bottoms
2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter, straight from the refrigerator and quickly cut into chunks
1/4 cup shortening (I use the white Crisco)
6 or more Tbsp ice water
Put flour into food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add butter and shortening and pulse a little at a time until mixture is crumbly and about the size of peas. Don’t over mix. Add water one Tbsp at a time, pulsing briefly with each addition. As soon as the mixture forms a ball, stop (you may need more or less than 6 Tbsp water).
Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate 30 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll half to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Place in pan. Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown. Roll out the other half, put in pan, wrap in freezer paper or freezer bag and freeze unbaked for later.

Until Monday, and wishing you a pie-filled weekend,


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I Scream, You Scream: Rocky Road Ice Cream



Is there anything better than a bowl or cone of your favorite ice cream on a hot summer night?

For fun, I wanted to make my own, but nothing too challenging. Years ago, I found this yummy concoction in my local newspaper. It’s easy to make–you don’t need an ice cream maker or any fancy gadgets.

Warning: It’s rich as sin. 🙂

Note: This stuff requires an overnight rest in the freezer, so plan to make it a day in advance.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

serves 8-10, depending on the portion served

  • 1 can (14-oz) sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup (I use the good-quality stuff that comes in a  jar, but any kind will do)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini-marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts

Stir the sweetened, condensed milk and chocolate syrup together until well mixed. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips,and peanuts. Store in an airtight container, and freeze overnight.

Will keep up to two weeks–but I’m betting it won’t last that long. 🙂

Happy Ice Creaming, and until Monday,


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Hump Day Wednesday: Summer Abundance


Our raspberry patch is alive with color! Early in the morning, I go out and pick fresh raspberries, which I add to my breakfast cereal or smoothie. Such a lovely addition, and so tasty! Sometimes I make jam. It’s so easy, and small batches work well. With small batches I can skip sterilizing the jars and simply refrigerate what I make for eating now. But if you want to make a large quantity, sterilize your jars first.

raspberry jam

Easy raspberry jam

Use equal parts sugar and raspberries. Turn on the heat to high and pour raspberries into a heavy saucepan. Mash slightly with a masher or a fork. Add sugar. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Lower heat to maintain a soft boil and cook until mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Pour into a clean glass jar. (If making a large quantity of jam, make sure the jars and sterilized and hot. Use canning lids to seal.) When cool, refrigerate your small batch. If you use the sterilize method, store your jam in a dark, cool, dry place.


Until Friday, and wishing you fabulous raspberries,


Motivational Monday: Recipe

green beans

Fourth of July will soon be here, and I wanted to share my new favorite green bean salad recipe. This is so easy and delicious, and pretty too!  Make several days ahead if desired, and store in refrigerator. Great served at room temperature, but cold is okay, too.

Green Beans with Red Onions and Olives


1/2 cup minced red onion
3 teaspoons balsamic or red-wine vinegar
3/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Additional Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and cut in half (or frozen–but the whole bean kind if possible).

7-10 black or Kalamata olives (how many and what kind depends on your tastes, but I prefer Kalamata), pitted and chopped into about 8 pieces/olive

In a bowl, stir together dressing ingredients. Let sit while you cook the beans and chop the olives.

Steam beans until just tender. Don’t overcook! Pour on dressing while the beans are still hot. Stir in olives, mixing well. Cool to room temperature.


Until Wednesday, and happy cooking!


Fantastic Friday: Giant Fudge Cookie Recipe

fudge cookie

I love to bake, even in warm weather. I made this last week and I’m still lickin’ my lips over it. If you love chocolate, add it to your must try list. And let me know how you like it.

The cookie

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

The fudge

12 ounces chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese cut into chunks
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1- 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Flour and grease a  a 9 x 12 pan

In the top of a double boiler over water, melt chocolate chips, cream cheese and milk.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Cream together sugar, butter, eggs, flour, salt and baking powder.  Divide dough in half.  Spread half evenly over bottom of pan.  Gently spread chocolate mixture over dough.  Sprinkle remaining dough on top, pressing lightly.

Bake approximately 30 minutes or until done.

Yum! Happy eating and until Monday,


Fantastic Friday: Recipe!


Teriyaki Flank Steak

It’s time to fire up the barbeque grill.  But this favorite of mine tastes great even when broiled in the oven.  For the most flavorful results, marinate for 24 hours before cooking. You’ll need at least one good piece of flank steak, but this recipe makes enough marinade for two. Trust me, it tastes so good you’ll want to cook two. 🙂
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup salad oil
1 finely chopped green onion

Mix in a 9 x 13 pan.

Score two flank steaks lightly with a knife.  Place in the sauce.  Turn over to coat both sides.  Cover with plastic wrap–otherwise, the sauce smells up the entire fridge. 😉 Refrigerate for 24 hours.  Turn several times so that both sides become thoroughly marinated.  (I usually start marinating in the early evening, then flip the meat over before I go to bed. Flip again in the morning, and  again a few hours before cooking.)

Toss the sauce and grill or broil five the meat minutes on each side, or until done enough to suit your tastes. If you’re like me, you’ll be drooling all the while.  Slice at an angle and serve.

Until Monday, and wishing you a weekend of happy eating,


Fantastic Friday: Recipe!!


It’s Friday! Seems like the perfect day for a recipe. This halibut dish is scrumptious, and so easy to make. I wish I knew where I got it so that I could give the person who created it the credit they deserve. Unfortunately, I have no idea.

Halibut Cheeks and Vermouth

Halibut cheeks are the sweetest part of the already sweet halibut (see image above), with a firm, flaky texture.

  • 1/2  pound halibut cheeks
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp dry vermouth
  • 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in pre-heated sauté pan. Add the vermouth and lemon juice. Add halibut, salt, pepper and dill, and sauté for about 1 minute. Turn the fish, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for a total cooking time of 2-3 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish, but check the fish often, as overcooked halibut is dry and stringy.  Cook until flaky and tender.


Until Monday, and wishing you a fantabulous weekend,



Gingerbread Birls, Boys, Birds and more…



Over the years I’ve tried many gingerbread cookie recipes, but this one has become the all-time favorite. It comes from Jann Johnson’s The Art of the Cookie, and is outstanding.

I can’t tell you exactly how many cookies the recipe makes–that depends on the size of your cookie cutters. At our house, we usually end up with several dozen.

Gingerbread Cookies
Note: The dough will need to be chilled for at least one hour before using

1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional, but I use it every time)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 1/4 cup flour (I use unbleached)
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 stick butter), softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup water
In a medium bowl, whisk salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and flour; set aside. In a large bowl with the mixer at medium speed, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in molasses and water; mixture will look curdled. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well. Divide dough in half and shape each into a flattened ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or overnight. Dough may be frozen at this point, but it must be thawed completely before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets. (I use Silpat.) On lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one half of the dough 1/4 inch thick. Lift dough occasionally to prevent sticking. Lightly reflour the work surface and rolling pin as needed.

Cut out the cookies and decorate. Place on cookie sheets. They spread so leave space between them. Bake in the center of the oven 12-15 minutes, or until set. Let them cool.

Cooled cookies may be frozen… If you have any left!

If you make anything gingerbread, email to me at and I’ll post your photos here.

Until next time,


Panna Cotta

panna cotta

Last weekend I listened to The Splendid Table on NPR, the show for people who love to eat. I love this show but don’t get much chance to listen to it.

The host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, gave a recipe for panna cotta. Naturally I had to try it. I have never been a fan of the stuff served in restaurants, but Lynne’s recipe is very good. And easy to make.

Warning: This stuff is killer rich, made mostly of cream and sour cream, with sugar and gelatin tossed in. I made a wine sauce to go with it. What can I say except that my arteries are now clogged… LOL! But I had to test it out, to see how it tastes. Now I’ll be able to serve it at our Winter Solstice party in a few weeks.

Here is the recipe. Give yourself a good 24 hours to make it and let it set, in the fridge so that it has a chance to firm up.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (use the entire packet instead)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar, or more to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8-ounce container) sour cream

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Do not let it boil. Stir in the gelatin until thoroughly dissolved. Take the cream off the heat and cool about 5 minutes.

2. Put the sour cream in a medium bowl. Gently whisk in the warm cream a little at a time until smooth. Taste for sweetness. It may need another teaspoon of sugar. Rinse 8 2/3 -cup ramekins, custard cups, or coffee cups with cold water. Fill each one three-quarters full with the cream. Chill 4 to 24 hours. For a very pretty and tasty treat, layer the panna cotta with this wine “filling”:

Wine “Filling” :

    • 1 1/2 cup red wine
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 whole allspice
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 packet gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Bring wine, sugar and spices to a boil. Boil 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and taste for sweetness; add more sugar if needed. Remove cinnamon and allspice. While still hot, whisk about 1/4 cup of the wine with the gelatin; when incorporated, add this to the rest of the wine. Whisk until smooth and there are no lumps.

Let cool thoroughly. If you have the time and patience, grab a pretty glass bowl and layer with the panna cotta. Here’s how to do that: Spoon about 1/2 of the panna cotta in the glass bowl. Chill until firm, about 4 hours. Without disturbing the panna cotta, gently add a new layer of 1/2 of the thickened wine . Chill 4 hours. Repeat, ending with a layer of the wine.

By the way, the photo above isn’t mine. I didn’t know that I needed to let everything set for such a long time, and mine turned out… not so pretty, but yummy all the same.

If you try it, let me know how it turns out.


Until next time,