Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas eve dessert: brazo de Mercedes

brazo de Mercedes
meringue roll with almond custard filling
i enjoyed making this dessert for our Christmas eve dinner…because it turned out so well, when i was expecting it to be not. i guess i have become pessimistic over my attempts at making this.
i kept in mind that the beating of the egg whites makes or breaks this popular dessert that’s served for very special occasions. Christmas included.
rib roast Christmas eve
will post the recipe upon request! thank you to everyone who visit here and i want to wish you all a hahahappy healthy 2012 :bouncy !

the anti-fruitcake fruitcake

i’ve never really understood why a lot of people dislike fruitcake, referring to it they use words like “brick,” “doorstop,” and adjectives like dry, heavy. i’ve even heard “deadly weapon”!
i’ve always had moist, tasty fruitcakes, owing to my mom’s version which she sold for Christmas orders or gave away as presents, a long long time ago. she can’t bake this year…
dried fruits steeped in "hot toddy"
so i had a bright idea of sending her a big loaf.
i used figs, dates, dried cherries, glacé cherries, maraschinos (both red and green), sultanas, raisins. i steeped the fruits overnight in the “hot toddy” mix of strong black tea, whiskey and Grand Marnier and cane sugar. ( my mom used to steep the fruits in molasses and brandy or rum.)
mixed nuts
fruit cake
i went nutty with the mixed nuts: Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios, almonds, and pecans.
i’ll supply the recipe upon request. happy happy, merry merry! best wishes for peaceful holidays.
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baked pasta: mezzi rigate with sausage and prosciutto in a creamy parmesan sauce

that about says it all yes?
baked pasta with sausage and prosciutto
everyone seems to be running around being Santa’s helpers. sometimes dinner becomes an oopsy afterthought: “oops! what shall we have for dinner then?!”
this is a quick pasta dish which came about from rummaging through the refrigerator and pantry shelves. my kids all were happily sniffing about in the kitchen while i was cooking.
it could be a side dish or the main dish–we served it alongside tilapia tempura and arugula salad.
recipe? Continue reading

decadent cocoa cake

i haven’t baked a layer cake in such a long time, so long! that my family asked me, “what’s the occasion?!” when i set this plump and dark and fragrant cocoa cake in front of them. after a dinner of IKEA meatballs, roast fingerling potatoes and steamed broccoli…they were very perplexed.

eh. i said. just because. sometimes a chocolate cake is all you need to make things feel right.
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i only had a little bit of heavy cream: when whipped there was only enough for the in-between and the top of the layers. i also had it with a scoop of pistachio ice cream. i am so so bad.

alkalized "Dutch-processed" cocoa
this is our current favorite chocolate layer cake. yah i know, i always say that about the latest recipe–but this is just so moist and intensely cocoa-ey and if you’re a fan of alkalized cocoa, as we are, you’ll reel from the chocolate buzz and almost dizzy feeling. it must be love.

* make sure to use only Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa; i searched high and low, far and wide until i found this at the newly opened Wegman’s in Northborough, MA, but there are other brands like Droste, and Hershey’s used to make one.
* have ingredients at room temperature unless specified otherwise.

decadent cocoa cake
(adapted from the Rademayer Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa back-of-the-box)
3 cups flour
2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa (with alkali)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup melted butter
2 & 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups warm water
1/ & 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

preheat oven to 350°F. prepare two 9-inch round cake pans: butter the bottom and up the sides of the pans, line with parchment paper, then rub with butter and coat with flour. shake off excess flour.
sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. set aside.
in a large mixing bowl, combine oil, butter, sugar and eggs.
add water and vanilla extract.
slowly add flour and cocoa mixture. mix only until thoroughly combined. pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.
allow to cool in pans.