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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

G-ma’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Posted by Hilary on July 16, 2010

This one gets hauled out around about July 11th annually for the fabulous Ms. Liva’s birthday. I grew up getting this treat only occasionally at my G-ma and Papa’s house. This post is mostly for me, so I can finally get the recipe off of post-it notes and into a more neat and readable form (eventually I hope to get G-ma’s potato salad, Dad’s cucumber salad, and Aunt Judy’s tabouleh off of paper scraps as well).

Top/ Bottom (!)

1 can of pineapple rings

4 TBSP Earth Balance or butter(-y product)

1/2 cup brown sugar


1/3 cup Earth Balance or butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup pineapple juice

1 1/2 cup flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Garnish: maraschino cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt 4 TBSP Earth balance/ butter and mix with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spread this evenly in the bottom of your pan (a 9″ or 10″ round pan works well). Then lay a single layer of pineapple rings (save the juice from the can) in the bottom of the pan.

3. Combine the following cake ingredients in a medium bowl: EB/ butter, sugar, eggs, pineapple juice.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small or medium bowl.

5. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from step 4 into the wet ingredients. Add vanilla.

6. Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and flip out onto plate or platter. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Serve plain, with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream.


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Blueberries Abound. Hence, Blueberry Cobbler

Posted by Hilary on July 6, 2010

My dad and I went blueberry picking at LeDuc’s and made off with some major blueberries.

I tried my hand at my first ever cobbler. It was a rousing success, so here are the details:


3 cups fresh blueberries

1/3 cup lemonade or orange juice

2 heaping tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp cinnamon


2/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter or earth balance

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla


1. Mix the ingredients for the filling so that the blueberries are coated uniformly. Put the filling in the bottom of an 8 x 8 or slightly larger pan.

2. In a small-ish bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In a larger bowl cream together the sugar and earth balance/ butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from step 2. Drop the batter onto the filling by the spoonful and then spread it evenly with a spatula.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool for long enough that the filling sets up, but not so long that the cobbler gets cold. Eat!

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Samoas, Part Duex

Posted by Hilary on April 19, 2010

KK sent me some of the samoas from her “Happy Kapril” post. Kelly ate one and has since been wanting (me) to make some too.

I decided to make the cookie version instead of the bars, because I wanted to try out this fancy cookie press:

As it turns out though, this cookie press is completely worthless, as the ratchet mechanism is not strong enough to push the dough. I have a less fancy-looking, but much better press somewhere (probably back in Michigan) that was given to me by my G-ma S.

I still didn’t feel like rolling out dough and using a cookie cutter, so I hand formed the shortbread cookies by making and flattening small balls of dough. As Katie promised, these things take forever to make. Here’s hoping that Kelly does not request them again for a while ūüėČ

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Chocolate Cupcakes, More Vegan-y and Tasty than Usual

Posted by Hilary on April 7, 2010

This not my recipe, but is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.


  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or other extract, but almond always wins at my place)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350¬į. Either grease or line muffin pan.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar, then set aside and allow to curdle.

3. After a few minutes add sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the soy milk/vinegar mixture and beat until foamy.

4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in to wet ingredients and combine (do not overbeat).

5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes.

I made the vegan buttercream frosting once with these and was not impressed, so now I prefer to dust them with powdered sugar or leave them plain. However, Kelly liked the vegan frosting so maybe it’s good. It has a lot of good reviews. Anyways, I go minimalist based on personal preference.

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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies! Happy Kapril!

Posted by kathleenerindavis on April 2, 2010

Yesterday was April 1st, which marked a lot of events: April Fools Day, The start of Birthday Month (or as I call it, Kapril…there’s a whole song all leading up to my birthday on April 22nd), and the end of my roommate and good pal Shawna’s 3 months of abstaining from booze and sugar.

To celebrate all these events I under took the biggest baking project I’ve ever done. I made a replica of my favorite Girl Scout cookies: Caramel Delights (to make things a little easier on myself I made them in bar form). I was advised to buy parchment paper, but the only roll I could find was fancy recycled “if you care” brand for $6, so I opted out and used this cool baking liner my mom gave me. It worked like a charm.

The first step is making the shortbread cookie, I had enough dough to fill this pan and then had some leftover, so I decided to make a giant heart-shaped one for Shawna’s big day. Here’s what they looked like after being baked while they were cooling on the¬†windowsill.

Next, I had ¬†toast the coconut (it didn’t all brown like the recipe said it would but it turned out fine), then unwrap a million caramels, melt them, mix the coconut, and spread it over the cookies.

The next step proved the most¬†difficult, after cutting the cookies, I attempted to melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the¬†microwave as per the¬†recipe, but they turned into a fried mess. At this point Shawna came home and advised that I should use dark chocolate instead and try a double boiler, something that has always scared me. I set out to buy dark chocolate, but there must have been a run on it in my hood because there was none to be found. I came home and after watching a video online and with Shawna’s guidance I¬†successfully melted the semi sweet chocolate and dipped the bottoms of the cookies, then made a makeshift pastry bag from a sandwich bag with the end clipped and drizzled the chocolate ¬†on top! The whole process took over three hours but…YUM!!

Here’s the Recipe:

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9√ó13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300.

Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.


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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Posted by kathleenerindavis on March 24, 2010

My friend Natasha moved into a new apartment last week, and I went to visit her last night. We drank wine and made super yummy red velvet cupcakes using the recipe from the Brooklyn-famous Cake Man Raven. You can get the recipe there or right here!

Since there was only two of us we cut the recipe in half, but used the same amount of food coloring so they remained nice and red. Tahsa said they were a little more dense than other times she’s made them so she suggested upping the buttermilk next time. It’s all a balancing act, a delicious, delicious balancing act.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Yields: Three, 9-inch layer cakes Baking Time: 15-20 minutes, 325 degrees pre-heated oven Level of Difficulty: Moderate.

Dry Ingredients: 2-1/2 cups of cake flour, 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of fine salt and 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder.

Wet Ingredients: 1 cup of buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vinegar (white distilled), 1-1/2 cups of vegetable oil, 1 oz. of red food coloring and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Frosting: 4 cups of Confectioners Sugar, 1 lb. of cream cheese (room temperature), 1 lb. of butter (softened) and 2 tsp. of vanilla. extract.


Sift together all dry ingredients. Add liquid in an electric mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Slowly add dry ingredients to bowl, until all ingredients are combined.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Frosting: Mix together the cream cheese and the softened butter. Gradually add confectioners sugar until it reaches desired sweetness and smoothness. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and frost the cake.

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Camera files evidence intent to blog

Posted by Hilary on February 25, 2010

I am a delinquent blogger! However, a cursory look through by camera files shows that I must have at least intended to blog on occasion.

Early November, 2009: Homemade applesauce with honeycrisps. I remember this taking longer than expected, but being awesome.

I must love apples, cause for the dessert party/ my birthday party on 11/7 I made apple oven pancake. This was a new recipe for me. Link to the recipe here.

Flash forward to Thanksgiving. We actually had guests! Kelly’s friend Mike, who moved here from Michigan over the summer, and Nicole, my cat’s friend. The cats had a lovely turkey dinner:

Nicole, Mike, and Kelly had a lovely turkey diner as well, whereas I had a lovely tofurkey dinner. We had a ridiculous amount of food, including a new roasted cauliflower recipe. No pictures of the cauliflower, and to be honest, no real recipe, but it involved olive oil and a lot of garlic. I made my traditional apple pie as usual, but tried a new pumpkin pie recipe, “sugar and spice pumpkin pie with brandied ginger cream”. This pie was more delicious than your every day pumpkin pie. I followed the recipe (linked above) pretty much to the letter. I even stole some brandy from Mango and Nicole! The only thing that I changed was leaving the brandy out of the actual whipping cream.

I got nothing to offer for Christmas. I made my apple pie, but otherwise I can’t remember cooking anything, which is strange for me.

And continuing on the path of the lazy graduate student, my attempt to make something semi-special on Valentine’s Day was chocolate-covered strawberries. On a side-note, these things are admittedly delicious, but why do people pay so much money for them (they sell one strawberry for $2-3 at a local store’s deli)? They’re possibly the easiest dessert to make.

Kelly had to work all of Valentine’s weekend, but luckily I had my sweet feline fellows to keep me company.

I can’t promise that I’ll be a better blogger anytime before the end of this semester, but I’ll try!


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Caramel Apple Slices and General Autumn Goodness

Posted by Hilary on October 8, 2009

At a recent gathering dubbed “Patrick Swayze Memorial Weekend” I was charged with the “Ghost” food, perhaps because I was unwavering in my support for Ghost’s inclusion in the movie marathon. The thing is, there’s really not much food in Ghost… pottery, yes- food, not so much. We decided that Ghost-themed food therefore equalled Halloween food. I, of course, took this opportunity to make a variation of one of my favorite treats- caramel apples.

Also, I found honeycrisp apples! My heart was all aflutter and I had to use them.

Caramel apples are finicky (see my last caramel apple post from November 2008), as caramel tends not to stick all that well to apples. The result is often a caramel coated apple sitting in a huge pool of run-off caramel. I decided to try and make caramel apples slices (really wedges).

First I used an apple corer/slicer to, well, core and slice the apples. I didn’t want them to get brown while I was working on the other stuff so I threw them in a bowl with water and lemon juice.


Once I was ready to assemble the ingredients, I lined a baking sheet with a silpat, although wax paper would work just as well. I tried to dry off the skin-side of the cut apples, but I didn’t spend too long on this, because that would be tedious and annoying. From here, I applied caramel (very sophisticated, I melted a couple of bags of werther’s) and chopped peanuts. Not much to it, but delicious! The caramel sticks better to the skin-sides of the apple than the cut sides, but it’s easy enough to use the excess caramel on the silpat as a dip if you want more caramel than is stuck to your apple slice. I left peanuts off some of the apples, in case some people didn’t like peanuts, but in hindsight, no one cared and I could have added them to all the slices.






On a related note, keep your eyes open for a post involving this super-cool pumpkin patch pan (link below). I had been coveting this pan for a while, and then it showed up on my doorstep, courtesy of Erin and Becca! Thank you lovely ladies!

Pumpkin-patch pan!


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Blueberry-Banana Bread

Posted by Hilary on September 11, 2009

This is a recipe I spotted on another food blog and have been waiting to try. The recipe itself can be found here:

I won’t rehash the whole recipe, since I followed this one precisely. It calls for agave nectar, which you will see in a lot of strict vegan recipes used as a sweetener in place of sugar (often not considered vegan as it’s commonly filtered with bone char) and honey (strict vegans don’t eat honey ’cause of the whole bee thing). I tend to use sugar sold as evaporated cane juice to solve this problem, but I keep agave on hand as well, and used it for this recipe.


Though I probably never would have thought of it myself, blueberries make an excellent addition to banana bread. A lot of mine tended to congregate at the bottom of the bread, but the taste was not compromised!


Posted in Desserts, HilHil, Vegan-friendly | 1 Comment »

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Posted by Hilary on August 18, 2009

If you know me, you know I love all things pumpkin (and well, all things autumn). In the spirit of autumn (which is hopefully on its way, but I tend to start early), I give you pumpkin cookies, with chocolate chips! Of course they could also be made without chocolate chips. Here goes:

Wet ingredients:
2 cups brown sugar (not all that wet, but it goes here anyways)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups pumpkin ūüėÄ
3/4 cup oil (original recipe calls for 1 cup, I can get it down to 1/2 cup- if you do this you might want to add applesauce to compensate)

Dry ingredients:

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

4 cups flour


Mix up wet ingredients. Mix up dry ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and beat. Add chocolate chips (if desired)- I’m a glutton so I add a whole bag. If you want to keep things vegan Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips contain no-milk (but do contain sugar, of course). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes- mine do best at 13 minutes, but I’m in a weird climate with a cheap stove, so your results may vary.

These cookies have been described as bread or cake-like. If that’s not cool with you but you still want to try them out, I would experiment with using less leavening (e.g., baking powder, baking soda).



Posted in Desserts, HilHil, Uncategorized, Vegan-friendly | 1 Comment »