by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, Recipes, April 18th, 2014
by Marisa McClellan in Recipes, March 28th, 2014
I am so grateful that spring is finally here. I live in Philadelphia, which is in that part of the country that was viciously walloped by this winter’s polar vortex, and so I was starting to wonder if the cold weather was here to stay. Fortunately in the last couple weeks, the weather has warmed, there’s a bit more sunlight each day, and I can feel hopefulness radiating off of everyone I pass.
To my mind, there’s no better way to celebrate the return of this more-hopeful weather than with a homemade treat. If you feel the same way, let me suggest Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pound Cake. It’s indulgent, but the texture is lighter than you find with other pound cakes, which makes it both celebratory and perfect for this time of year.
Whether you’re baking for an Easter celebration or just in need of something sweet with which to welcome the warmer weather, this cake is an ideal Weekender project.
by Virginia Willis in Recipes, View All Posts, February 14th, 2014
Before I met my husband, my go-to desserts were always fruit based. For spring potlucks I would bake up big trays of berry crumble. Late summer meant peach pie with vanilla ice cream. And no Thanksgiving meal was complete without a scoop of apple crisp.
That all changed when Scott and I got together, because fruit just isn’t his thing. While I do still occasionally make my beloved fruit desserts, I find I get more joy from dessert prep if I make something that he’s interested in sharing with me (plus, I really shouldn’t be eating all that dessert on my own).
And so for the last half decade, I’ve been working on expanding my dessert repertoire beyond berries, stone fruit and apples. I’ve made damp tea loaves, coffee cakes, cookies, bars and more. They’ve all been good, but I longed for something that came together a little more quickly and didn’t require the use of the oven.
I found it: homemade pudding. There are two ways to make a batch of pudding from scratch. The first uses cornstarch and makes a quick and perfectly serviceable pudding. When I make pudding-filled pies or want a big batch for a potluck, that’s the version I opt for. But when I want something that can be the star of the dessert course, nothing is better than rich custard-based pudding.
by Marisa McClellan in Holidays, February 14th, 2014
There was a diner that we would occasionally visit when I was a little girl. It was otherworldly. The fluorescent lights were bright and the restaurant was loud with the clanking of pots and pans, music on the jukebox and the chatter of the customers. I remember the waitresses with bouffants bustling about in their pink uniforms, the red, shiny vinyl booths and Formica tabletops, and the weathered men with worn baseball caps hunched over their coffee cups at the counter. What I remember the most, however, was the gleaming pie display case. It was vividly illuminated from the inside and the desserts were featured on constantly rotating, pristine white shelves, giving a 360 degree view of the tantalizing contents. This polished stainless-steel refrigerator was an absolute shrine to pie. It was truly memorable. Read more
by Sara Levine in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2014
When I was in my mid-20s, some girlfriends and I started a Valentine’s Day tradition. Being that we were all single at the time, we chose to spend the evening of February 14 together instead of pining over ex-boyfriends and lost loves.
My friend Cindy would be on cocktail duty. Ingrid was in charge of selecting the movie. Una always brought the appetizers. And I took care of making our chosen dinner — fondue.
We’d start with a pot of cheese fondue with bread, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken for dipping. Once we’d had our fill of the savory course, I’d bring out a small pot of chocolate fondue with strawberries, orange segments, pound cake cubes and pretzel sticks. It was such a fun way to celebrate our loving friendships on a day most often reserved for romance.
by Allison Milam in Holidays, February 13th, 2014
A perfect rich-yet-airy chocolate souffle is the ultimate wow-factor Valentine’s Day dessert. But souffles can be intimidating, both for expert bakers and novice cooks. So we asked Pastry Chef Robert Parks, lead instructor of the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, for his no-fail, no-fall recipe, plus five top tips for souffle success.
1. Make a “cream-based” souffle: This is the key to Chef Parks’ no-fail recipe. Cream-based souffles include starch, which makes the souffle more stable and less sensitive to movement.
2. Use the right type of ramekin: deep and straight-sided.
3. Don’t overwhip or underwhip the meringue: It should be stiff but not crumbly or dry.
by Marisa McClellan in Family, Recipes, January 17th, 2014
It’s February 13. Whether you’re a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife — or even a good friend — you have just enough time to plan something special for Valentine’s Day. No, we’re not suggesting a last-minute swing by the convenience store for one of those cardboard, heart-shaped chocolate boxes moments before the big date. Instead, show your love by baking up decadent chocolate desserts in your own kitchen. These heart warmingly homemade chocolate-centric recipes come to you just in the nick of time, working as a romantic treat for two or an irresistible dessert for a troupe of sweet-toothed singles.
A fudgy brownie is a no-brainer, but Ina Garten’s Brownie Tart (pictured above) cuts down on flour so that it’s extra rich and chocolatey. She deepens the flavor of chocolate by adding coffee granules, making the whole house smell like brownies.
by Marisa McClellan in Holidays, Recipes, December 13th, 2013
I spent most of last week in Austin hanging out with my sister and her family. It was a trip I planned months ago, for no other reason than to see their new house and get a chance to spend many days playing trains with my 2-year-old nephew, Emmett.
One of Emmett’s favorite things to do is to pretend to make food (pizza and soup are two of his regulars). Because of that, I thought it would be fun to do a real food project with him. To maintain my sanity, I went in search of a no-bake cookie recipe and came up with Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares.
You start by crushing up enough pretzels to make two cups of crumbs. I put them in a big zip-top bag and told Emmett to break them. He put the bag on the floor and jumped up and down on it. He enjoyed it greatly and it worked perfectly. Once they’re crushed, stir in melted butter, powdered sugar and peanut butter until fairly well integrated. I got it started so that the sugar wouldn’t explode everywhere and then let Emmett help with the stirring.
When that base layer is fully combined, pat it into a baking pan. This is another opportunity for a kiddo to help. I put a sheet of aluminum foil down and had him help me push it flat.
Before you start assembling, read these tips
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, November 8th, 2013
Nearly every year, I make at least half a dozen varieties of holiday cookies to share with friends, neighbors and relatives. I have a few standbys (sugar, gingerbread, chocolate crinkles) and a few wild card slots (this year, they are thumbprints, almond flour shortbread, and oat cookies with cranberries and pistachios).
In addition to those cookies, I also try to include one extra sweet in my holiday treat assortment. In the past I’ve made oven-roasted caramel corn, easy fudge with sweetened condensed milk and crunchy pepita toffee.
This year as I was scanning recipe websites, looking for that extra something sweet to put in my treat packages, I spotted Ina Garten’s recipe for Chocolate Truffles.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
by Food Network Magazine in Food Network Magazine, May 2nd, 2013
I believe everyone should have one cookie recipe that they know by heart — one that can be easily whipped together to welcome new babies, offer up at potlucks and make on a whim when you need a touch of sweet homemade comfort.
For some people, that cookie is a basic chocolate chip. For others, it’s a rough and tumble mix of oats, nuts and dried fruit. And I know other folks who can make peanut butter or sugar cookies with their eyes closed.
The basic requirements of this type of cookie are that the ingredients can be kept in the kitchen cupboard, that you need only a bowl or two to make it, that it drops from spoon to baking sheet with ease (no roll-out cookies need apply) and that it tastes good. Being sturdy enough to withstand the U.S. Postal Service is not required, but it’s a plus.
Before you start baking, read these tips
Try a salty spin on an old ice cream-truck favorite, the Choco Taco. Fill taco shells with softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Melt 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in the microwave, then stir in 6 tablespoons chopped butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup. Dip the tacos in the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and let harden, about 2 minutes.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)