Tag Archives: winter

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

Guys, this pie.

So. Good.

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie via SweetRevelations

I’m completely, utterly nuts over it.   The idea came to me last week-end while still tidying up from the holidays.  What on earth were we to do with all of those in-shell nuts I bought?  And why, for heaven’s sake, did I buy so many to begin with?!  I say this, but I know why.  It’s the same reason I buy those stuck together, hard as a rock, assorted Christmas candies.  When I was growing up, there was always a bowl of mixed nuts sitting out during the holidays.   It was tradition at our house, and at my grandparents.  With the same old-school nutcracker that my mom had for years, the bowl of nuts came out and stayed out for the duration of the winter.  As kids, we cracked them simply for entertainment purposes, nut pieces and shells flying across the room.  We were so convinced that if we just squeezed hard enough, we could crack them open with our bare hands (never happened I can assure you).  But growing up, I certainly began to appreciate the value of shelled whole nuts a little more.  My husband often cracks a few for a quick snack just before dinner.  Sometimes we are catching up about our day, and we’re both just absent mindedly cracking and eating amongst the chatter.  When the kitchen is busy with guests and family, someone is undoubtedly cracking open a meaty walnut or a crunchy filbert, while usually the brazil nuts are largely ignored.

So there I was, holidays over, company dwindling, and hoards of mixed nuts left.  I knew without a doubt that I would be using the walnuts for a pie.  A warm pie to me is the ultimate comfort food.  A sweet, nutty winter pie seemed just right.  And adding chocolate and sea salt was a logical step.  Crunchy walnuts, dark chocolate and sea salt amongst a tender, flaky pastry?  Count me in!

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie via SweetRevelations

I knew I would be using a recipe similar to pecan pie for my base.  I took a few recipes I currently have, and adjusted them until I found something that I was happy with.  The sea salt just takes this pie over the top.  It’s only a subtle salt flavor, but one that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients.  So perfectly in fact, I’ve made it two more times since then.  So. Good.

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

I love baking pies in the winter.  I usually keep lots of local summer fruit frozen just for that reason.  However, a nutty, decadent Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie is not only an appropriate alternative to fruit, I guarantee you that it will warm up your house and chase those winter blues away!

So I think I’ve given that ages old tradition of whole nuts during the holidays a new twist.  And when my children are in their own houses, and questioning their own winter bowl of nuts, “why do I put these out?” and “why on earth did I buy so many?!”, they’ll think back to these days in our kitchen.  And they’ll do it just the same, after all, its tradition.

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie

Preheat oven to 375°

Ingredients

  • 9″ unbaked pie shell
  • 1 cup Hershey’s dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp sea salt (more to taste if desired)
  1. Scatter the cup of chocolate chips on the bottom of the unbaked shell, set the shell aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar.  Add the flour, eggs and corn syrup. Mix well.  Mix in the walnut pieces.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell, on top of the chocolate chips, and bake for 45 mins to an hour.  The filling will be puffed up and set at the sides, but still slightly jiggly in the center.  Don’t hesitate to leave it in longer if need be, the filling should be slightly jiggly but not sloshing around or it won’t set.  Cool completely and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.

Walnuts via SweetRevelations

 

 

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Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

Get your skillet out!  Spoil your family this week and make Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones for breakfast.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know about my weakness for this quick bread, because it’s so incredibly versatile.  I rolled thousands of scones when I owned a bake shop, and still regularly make them for home.  These buttery scones are bursting with cranberries and orange zest, and then glazed (twice for good measure) with a sweet orange glaze.   I’ve really come to love baking a small batch in the skillet, and the presentation is simple and beautiful.

Cranberry Scones SweetRevelations

Often people mistakenly think that scones are bland, dense, and dry.  I can assure you, these are not.  The trick with scones, is to handle the dough as little as possible, use good quality frozen butter, and fresh buttermilk.   A batch of scones is easily mixed in 20 minutes or less, is done by hand, and they can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and baked as needed.   I know right?  I can’t talk these things up any more, they sell themselves!

cranberry scones, sweetrevelations

With the holidays approaching, I always, and I mean always, have a batch ready in the freezer.  They are the perfect tea time treat when company arrives, make an excellent gift, and are a delicious addition to any holiday brunch table.  I can also bake up a few in the morning, right from the freezer, for the kids before they head off to school.

cranberry scones- sweetrevelations

I bet your kitchen is in full swing with holiday baking.  I hope you might take a few minutes to mix up a batch of scones and have a much deserved coffee break!

Happy baking friends,

Renee

Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat works best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

 

Preheat oven to 415°

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and zest.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture.  Mix gently with a fork to coat the butter with the flour mixture.

2.  In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk, extract, sour cream and egg.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour buttermilk mixture in.  Mix gently to incorporate.

3.  Knead dough on a floured surface, maximum 1o times.  The idea is to knead very little to keep that butter cold.  As best you can, fold in the cranberries with your hands.  Pat the dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Cut the dough into eight even wedges, but still keeping it in the circle shape.  Place the scones into a well seasoned skillet (a circle of parchment on the bottom works well too).  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until dough is cooked and scones are golden.

4.  While scones are baking, mix the powdered sugar and orange juice into a smooth glaze.  Once scones are baked, drizzle with orange glaze while they are still warm.

Notes:

  1.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a skillet.  You can use a round cake pan, lightly sprayed with baking spray, or bake the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  2. Scones do very well in the freezer.  Roll a batch and freeze on a cookie sheet (before baking).  Simply bake from frozen, adding additional time as needed.
  3. This recipe doubles nicely.  I usually make a double batch, baking one up and freezing the other for later.

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Filed under Breakfast, Scones and Breads

Self-Saucing Pear and Whiskey Cake

I asked my husband this week-end if he ever had self-saucing cakes as a boy.  He had never heard of such a thing.  Same with the moms I asked at the arena.  They had no idea what I was talking about.

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It’s right up there with moms heart-shaped cookies she used to put in our lunch or the sweet apple strudel she would buy as a treat on the week-ends sometimes.  Those magical boxes of mix that would bake with a warm, bubbling sauce on the bottom and a moist, warm cake layer on top?

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I tried a scratch version last week-end that was insanely good and brought back all the comfort of eating desserts as a kid at mom’s house again.

Minus the whiskey…..

scoop

It was a last minute decision to generously splash some whiskey into the caramel sauce on the bottom.  I can’t even tell you how much I used.  But I could taste it in there!  It complimented the spicy cloves and pears perfectly and left the most amazing caramel whiskey sauce on the bottom.

The perfect treat on a freezing winters night.

pears (1)

Have you ever eaten Self-Saucing Cake?  Do you make a dessert that takes you right back to your mom’s kitchen table?

Enjoy!

Renee

 

Self-Saucing Cake with Pears and Whiskey

* this made 8 1-cup ramekins (probably could’ve got 9 with less overflow) or would work well in a deep dish pie plate

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1-2 sliced green or red pears

For the sauce:

  • 1.5  tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 3 tbsp whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly spray baking dishes with non stick spray and place on a cookie sheet.

1. For the cake:  In a medium bowl mix the flour, spices and baking powder; set aside.  In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.   Add the flour mixture to butter in thirds, alternating with milk, and beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix just until incorporated.  Fill the ramekins just slightly over half full.  Top each with pear slices.

2. For the sauce:  In a microwave safe bowl heat the sugar, butter and water until mixture is steaming hot and sugar/butter is melted.  Stir in whiskey.  Immediately pour over cake and pears in the ramekins, dividing evenly amongst the dishes.

3.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until skewer comes clean when inserted into the cake.  Let sit for 5 minutes and eat warm.  Delicious with a scoop of ice cream on top too!

 

 

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Filed under Cake, Sauces and Syrups

Easy Gingerbread Snowmen Cookies

Happy Saturday everyone!

If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that my job during the day is working in a classroom with 9 of the most amazing children.  They’re all so different and have taught me some sort of lesson about myself or life in general.  I truly enjoy being with them each day.

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The past few weeks in our room have been all about the holiday season and the magic of winter.  We recently did a snowman art project and I thought it was so cute that I copied it in cookie form for them.  They were pretty impressed and I was too~ it was incredibly easy!  How cute are these snowmen cookies who are gazing up at the snowflakes falling from the sky?  Pretty whimsical and a great gift idea or classroom party snack.

Did you know that you can place a fondant decoration on top of hot cookies right out of the oven and they will mold perfectly on top?  Nothing else required!   The longest part of the cookie prep is making the fondant decorations for the top.   After that, things move pretty smoothly.

First off, here are the items you need:

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  1. Gingerbread recipe (see below)
  2. Round cookie cutter
  3. White, blue and orange fondant
  4. Fondant roller
  5. Black sugar pearls – I used 4 mm
  6. Card stock with snowflakes painted on (if you’re giving the cookies as gifts)- I used white food colour gel and the back of a paintbrush

 

Start by rolling out your cookie dough and using the cookie cutter to cut out all of your cookies.  Place them on trays in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.  Use the fondant roller to roll out the white fondant (a bit of Crisco on the counter top stops it from sticking).  Use the same cookie cutter to cut out as many white circles as you have cookies.  Place them under some Saran or a fondant mat to keep the fondant from drying out (single file).  Meanwhile, start the scarves.  Roll out the blue fondant and cut two strips for the scarf, using a knife to cut the end tassels.  Put a little bit of water on your finger and rub it on the bottom side of the scarf to help it adhere to the white fondant (very little water is needed).  Place the scarf on the white circle as shown in the picture below.  Cut the corners to keep the snowman round.

pieces 2[1]

Roll out the orange fondant and cut out some carrot noses with a knife.  Keep all fondant under the Saran to keep it from drying out.  Now you can start baking and assembling!  As soon as the cookies come out of the oven start placing the snowmen on top.  Once you’ve covered the whole tray of hot cookies with the fondant rounds, you can start pressing in the black pearls for the mouth.  Carrot noses will stick on with just a smidge of water.

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Tah dah!!  Looks great right?  For packaging I simply placed a cookie on a piece of blue cardstock with some little white dots (I had some snowflake sprinkles to add too) and then in a cellophane wrap.  I must tell you that the cookies were a big hit although they need to be handled with care as the noses can be fragile.  When I do them again I will move the noses down just a hair so that they aren’t sticking out as much.

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And that’s it.  A fun baking project that you can do with your own children or just to give to the very special children in your life!

plate[1]

Now go forth and create my little snowflakes!  Use your imagination and have fun!

Renee

 

Gingerbread Cookies

*Martha Stewart

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  •  2 teaspoons ground ginger
  •  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 /2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  •  3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  •  1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in spices, salt, eggs and molasses.   Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into circles with a 2.5″ cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm or ready to use.
  4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, about 8 minutes. Cover immediately with fondant tops.

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