Bittersweet Brownies with Cranberries

You all know I'm not a great chocolate lover, but who could resist these? Deep, dark chocolate and chock full of fresh cranberries. These are fudgy inside, with a crunchy top and when you bite into it, you get a hit of sour from the cranberries. Great foil for this rich brownie and a perfect way to start off my holiday recipes!

Bittersweet Brownies with Cranberries
From Gerhard Jenne's Deservedly Legendary Baking via Luisa at Wednesday Chef

3 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 1/4 ounces butter
6 1/4 ounces dark chocolate (I used 60% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
1 1/3 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 1/4 ounces fresh cranberries

Heat the oven to 350 F . Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper.
Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, then whisk in the sugar until frothy. Set aside.
Put the butter in a pan and melt over medium heat until it has completely melted. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted.
Whisk the eggs and sugar again until pale and frothy, then whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and stir gently with a spatula until there are no white streaks remaining. Add the salt. Fold in the cranberries. 
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and level the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.


Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

1/4 cup unsalted butter 
2 pkg (3.5oz.) of pumpkin shaped Peeps 
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice 
5 cups rice krispies cereal 
1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips


Line a 8" square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Grease the paper with butter. Set aside. 
Grease a large mixing bowl with butter. Add rice krispies cereal. Set aside. 
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add marshmallows to melted butter and melt, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in pumpkin spice. 
Add marshmallow mixture to rice krispies cereal and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and press down. 
Sprinkle top with mini chocolate chips and gently press them down to stick to the bars. Do not spread. 
Chill bars in your fridge for at least 30 to 40 minutes.


Quick Buttery Biscuits

Biscuit lovers unite! And you can believe it when the title  says "quick". These aren't your perfect round little biscuits....the kind you make for company....no, these are for  family and biscuit-lovers. You can throw them together (literally) in 20 minutes and you won't need a bit of butter when they're done, because they bake in a stick of butter! With a casserole or soup and served right out of the oven.....oh my.
Honestly, the devil must have made me do it.

Quick Buttery Biscuits
Recipe from The Country Cook

1 stick salted butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 450.
Melt the butter in glass pan in microwave. Then, mix flour, sugar and baking powder, then add the buttermilk. Pour over the melted butter. Score with a knife into 9 pieces.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotate once.
Chow down!


Ina's Rack of Lamb Persillade

We make Ina's mustard-topped rack of lamb frequently because it's so simple and I usually have all the ingredients in my pantry. Her lamb persillade is just as good (perhaps better) but does require a trip to the store AND when you cut the rack, most of the delectable crumble tends to fall off. I took this photo before we cut it in pieces.

Ina's recipe is, as usual, fabulous. Love the crumbled, crisp, garlicky crumbs on top...I seem to be in a garlic/crumb mood this month.....where they fell off, we just gathered them up after slicing and put them on top of our lamb ribs. 
If you like your lamb pink, I think you should leave it in the oven just a tad longer than Ina suggests. The center, done exactly according to these directions was rare, which I like, but my daughter doesn't. So I eat the inside ribs and she eats the outside ones. You know, like the old nursery rhyme Jack Sprat and his wife.

Ina's Rack of Lamb Persillade
From Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

3 small or 2 large racks of lamb, frenched
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic cloves (3 cloves)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the racks in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
Place the parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they're both finely minced. Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process for a second until combined.
Take the lamb out of the oven and quickly press the parsley mixture on top of the meat. Drizzle with the melted butter and return immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, cut in double chops, and serve.


Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone in my family has always loved angel food and chiffon cakes. My aunt used to make a birthday cake on each of our birthdays....always a lemon-flavored angel food cake with 7-minute frosting.  My mother used to make an orange angel food/chiffon cake, the recipe from her friend Alice, with fruit in the whipped frosting...it was divine. I used it often for women's lunches because you could make it way in advance and refrigerate; back in the 60's, you could cheat and buy an orange sponge cake in the A & P. Then they stopped making it and alas, we had to start making it from scratch.

The last family favorite angel food cake recipe I'll share is another idea my mother's best friend Alice (Guess you can tell Alice was inventive in the kitchen!) came up with back in the 40's. I know, everybody makes ice cream cakes now, but back then, it was quite a novelty. And...she used pistachio ice cream, which was a very unusual flavor in those days. Mother copied her idea and would bake an angel food cake, split it in thirds and spread each layer thickly with pistachio ice cream. Then she'd whip some cream, put a teeny dash of green food coloring in and frost the cake. Back in the freezer it went. To this day, when I want an ice cream treat, I buy a small loaf of angel food cake and spread it with pistachio ice cream! Isn't it funny how food combinations you loved as a child stay with you? Like those little pecan tarts from Sanders (anyone remember Sanders?)....I used to sneak them out of the freezer as a child....now I prefer my pecan pie frozen. And stewed prunes with macaroni and cheese. How weird is that? We went home for lunch in the 40's and often Mother made mac and cheese, always serving it with stewed prunes. She loved stewed prunes, made them until her death. 

This particular angel food cake is pumpkin and as delicious as anything I've had in ages. The frosting is a killer recipe too. The cake is made from scratch (no problem, just be sure you have a tube pan with a removable bottom) and you can frost the entire cake, or just use a dollop of frosting on each slice like I did. 

Love fall...love pumpkin recipes. (But not quite as much as rhubarb recipes!)

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Cake recipe from Chattavore; Frosting recipe from Real Housemoms

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cups cake flour-I used Swan's Down
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
12 Large egg whites (room temperature)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon table salt (or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. You need a tube pan that has a removable bottom.
Whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar and the pumpkin pie spice  with the cake flour in a medium bowl.
Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar together in a stand mixer for about a minute, until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until puffy, about a minute, then add the salt and the remaining sugar a tablespoon at a time. Whip until soft peaks are reached.
Remove from the stand mixer and gently whisk in the lemon juice by hand. Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites 1/4 cup and a time, gently but thoroughly folding in with a silicone spatula after each addition. Now, add the pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time, taking great care not to deflate the egg whites as you are folding. 
Carefully scrape the batter into the tube pan. Tap the bottom of the pan against the counter a few times to settle it. Place in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and springy.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert. Most tube pans have "feet" or the center portion is taller than the edges allowing the pan to stand off of the counter, but if your pan doesn't, or if your cake rose a lot, invert over a funnel. 
Cool like this for at least three hours before removing from the pan. This step keeps the cake from deflating as it cools.
Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and around the center tube to loosen the cake. Push the bottom out of the pan. Run a sharp, thin knife under the cake to remove the bottom of the tube pan. You could use a piece of parchment on the bottom before baking, but I find it just as simple to release the cake carefully with a knife. Serve at room temperature.
You can serve the cake as is, or frost with the following recipe. I just sliced and used a dollop of the frosting on each piece.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
6 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the butter and cream cheese until well combined and fluffy. Add in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugared and then the cinnamon. Continue to beat until everything is well incorporated and the frosting is fluffy.


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