Campfire Pie

Imagine a buttery graham cracker crust, decadent chocolate pudding, and fluffy marshmallow frosting and you’ll never need to pretend you like camping again.


1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker cookies
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 stick melted butter

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 minutes. Cool. 

Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.

Pour the pudding into cooled pie crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.

Add the egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tarter, and salt to a heat-safe bowl of an stand mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water.

Heat the mixture, whisking constantly until the egg whites are warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 7-9 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last 10 seconds of mixing.

Pipe onto pie immediately.


Orange & Chocolate Muffins


Orange and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations.

2 cups flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh orange juice + 1 teaspoon for glaze
Zest of one orange
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup melted browned butter, cooled
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice

Melt butter and put aside. In a large bowl sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, orange zest, and salt.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg, milk, vanilla, sour cream and orange juice.

Pour the wet ingredients, including melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. The batter will be lumpy. Fold in chocolate chips. Do not over-mix or the muffins will become tough. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups using small ice cream scoop.

Bake at 425 F for about 10 minutes, lower oven to 350 and bake for additional 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Whisk together powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of orange juice and drizzle over muffins.

Michael’s 50th Cake


When you husband turns 50 you celebrate with a chocolate cake fit for a King.  Thanks to Baker by Nature for the recipe. Chocolate Cake with chocolate buttercream and a salted caramel fudge sauce.


Hot Fudge Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup chocolate chips

2 cups unsalted butter very soft
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream (more if needed)
2 tablespoons hot fudge sauce (see below for recipe)

1 cup hot fudge sauce sauce (see below for recipe)
4 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, shaved
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


Hot Fudge Sauce

Whisk together the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, gently tilting the pan side-to-side to help the ingredients cook evenly and avoid burning, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sugar turns a deep golden brown/copper color. Once the caramel reaches this color, remove from heat and immediately add in the heavy cream. Be very careful during this step – the caramel will hiss and bubble up aggressively!

Add in the chopped chocolate and stir smooth. Finally, stir in the vanilla and sea salt. Vigorously whisk the mixture smooth and set aside to cool. Store covered, for up to one week, in the fridge.


Preheat oven to 350°(F). Cut out three 9-inch round segments of parchment paper to line your cake pans with. Spray each pan generously – sides and bottom – with nonstick cooking spray, then place the parchment paper cut out in the bottom of the pans and spray again. It’s important to make sure every bit of pan and paper are sprayed so your cakes don’t get stuck. Set pans aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, combine both sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use your hands to break up any large clumps, if needed. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract; mix until completely combined. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and beat on low until just incorporated. Pour in hot water and continue mixing until completely combined; about 1 minute. The batter will quite thin. Quickly fold in mini chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cakes for 10 minutes in the pan before removing from pans and transferring to a cooling rack. Cool cakes completely before frosting.


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric beater, cream the softened butter on medium-speed until completely smooth; about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer off and sift the powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and mix until the sugar/cocoa have been absorbed by the butter; about 2 minutes. Increase mixer speed to medium; add in vanilla extract, salt, heavy cream and hot fudge; beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting appears a little too thin, add a little more confectioners’ sugar; If your frosting needs to be thinner, add additional heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.


Using a serrated knife, carefully trim the raised top of each cake, making each one an even, level surface. Transfer 1 layer to a large plate or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top, then add a 1/2 cup of hot fudge sauce; top with another cake layer, and repeat, thinly spread it with a layer of frosting, then adding a 1/2 cup of hot fudge sauce. Top with the final cake layer and place cake in the fridge to set for 1 hour. Once set, finishing frosting the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the sides and top with chocolate shavings, then gently press the mini chocolate chips around the sides and on the top. Slice and serve, or keep refrigerated for about a week.

Peach Bars


We spent the weekend and Georgia and I had one thing on my mind.


For the Crust:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

For the Filling:

1 half-pint peach jam

For the Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar packed
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350º F. Mix together butter, flour, and confectioner’s sugar. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan, a pie plate, tart pan, or other pan for your baking.
Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
Spread peach jelly evenly all over the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl with a pastry blender or fork. Stir in oats, nuts, and salt. Spread crumb topping evenly over filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting, about 45 minutes to an hour. Cut into squares and serve.
I worked with this recipe.

Buttered Sour Cream Cake


Butter makes most stuff better.


1 cup butter
3 cups sugar + extra for pan
6 large eggs, room temperature
8 ounces sour cream room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan with butter and sugar. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating each one in before adding the next then stir in the sour cream.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl then add to batter 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Stir in vanilla. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 325 degrees for 80 to 85 minutes. I always like to start testing at 75 minutes. Carefully insert a long wooden pick into center of cake. Cake is done when dry crumbs or no crumbs stick to the pick.
Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 1 to 20 minutes before inverting on a tray to cool completely. Ice as desired.
I worked with this recipe.



When I bake stuff like this, I realize how much more I need to practice. But I’m not sure anyone will mind.


For the Dough:
1 cup milk, heated to 115°
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting

For the Butter Insert:
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled, plus more for greasing

For Assembly:
1 cup sugar, divided


Make the dough: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the milk and yeast, and let sit until foamy, 8 to 10 minutes. With the motor running, add the sugar and salt, followed by the flour. Run the mixer until a dough comes together, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, 1 hour.

To make the butter insert, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the sugar, flour and salt onto a clean work surface and toss the butter in it. Using a rolling pin, beat the butter until pliable, flipping as needed. Roll the butter into a 9″ x 12″ rectangle and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Chill for 45 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18-by-14-inch rectangle that’s ¼ inch thick. Place the chilled butter insert on one half of the dough, then fold the dough over to enclose it, pressing the edges to seal.

Grease a muffin tin with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar, then place the tin on a baking sheet. Working quickly, sprinkle a clean work surface with a heavy pinch of sugar. Place the dough on top and sprinkle with another heavy pinch of sugar. With one of the short ends of the dough facing you, fold the dough like a letter, bringing the bottom third of the dough up over the middle, then the top third of the dough on top of that. Roll the dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle, using sugar as you would typically use flour to prevent sticking. Repeat this process 3 more times for a total of 4 folds.

After the dough is rolled out for a final time, cut the rectangle into twelve 4-inch squares. With each square, bring all the corners into the center and fit into one of the molds of the muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining squares of dough. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has expanded to fill each mold, 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately remove each kouign-amann from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve.

I used this recipe.

NY Crack Cheesecake


Pretty. Simple. Sweet. is where I got this inspiration.  I made some changes due to what I had on hand. Note: I have never been able to make a cheesecake without a crack on the top.


150g of cookie graham cracker or similar cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

16 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
16 ounces ricotta at room temperature
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large eggs + 1 yolk at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice + zest of one lemon


Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of the pan (bottom and sides) with a large piece of foil.

In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs, sugar, and melted butter and mix until combined and moistened. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan to form an even layer of crumbs. Bake for 8-9 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and lump-free, 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add cornstarch and mix until blended. Add the eggs and beat until fully combined. Add cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat just until combined and smooth. Pour batter over cooled crust and spread evenly.

Bake cake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 225°F and continue to bake for 60 minutes until golden brown around the edges, the sides are set but the center is still slightly wobbly. Turn off oven, open the oven door slightly or halfway to let in cold air, and leave the cake in the oven for 60 minutes. This will help prevent the cake from cracking.  Notice it says, help…there is no guarantee. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow it to cool to room temperature. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 12 hours.


Hollywood Cibatta


Watched a masterclass on Cibatta from Paul Hollywood last night and woke up with only one thing on my mind.  Here is his recipe.


500 g of bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10 g salt
10 g instant yeast
40ml olive oil
400 ml tepid water
Fine semolina for dusting


Lightly oil a 2-3 litre square plastic container. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough).

Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add the olive oil and three-quarters of the water and begin mixing on a slow speed. As the dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water. Then mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

Tip the dough into the prepared tub, cover with a tea towel and leave until at least doubled, even trebled in size – 1-2 hours or longer.

Heat your oven to 425°F and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.

Dust your work surface heavily with flour – add some semolina too. Carefully tip out the dough (it will be very wet) onto the work surface, trying to retain a rough square shape. Rather than knocking it back, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. Coat the top of the dough with more flour and/or semolina. Cut the dough in half lengthways and divide each half lengthways into 2 strips. You should now have 4 pieces of dough. Stretch each piece of dough lengthways a little and place on prepared baking trays.


Leave the ciabatta dough to rest for a further 10 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.

Dana Banana Bread


The only thing up for debate about banana bread is whether or not to add nuts.  Or chocolate. Or peanut butter.


2 cups thoroughly mashed banana; about 4 or 5 medium bananas.
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts


1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana with all of the remaining ingredients except for the nuts. Beat the batter thoroughly, until everything is well combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat briefly to incorporate any sticky residue. Stir in the walnuts.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon topping, and sprinkle over the batter.

Bake the bread for about 60 to 75 minutes, until the bread feels set on the top, and a paring knife (or other thin knife) inserted into the center comes out clean. If you have a digital thermometer, the bread’s temperature at the center should register about 205°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 15 to 20 minutes of baking.

Remove the bread from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Turnover Cookies


3 1/4 cups flour
2 sticks (250 g) cold butter
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoonp salt
2-3 tablespoons powder sugar
16 oz raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift the flour in a bowl and add the cold chopped butter. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until you obtain pea-size crumbles.

Over the crumbles, add water, salt, and vinegar and mix together with your hands until you get a smooth dough.

Roll it on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut circles with a water glass or a round cookie cutter. Place a dollop of jam in the middle and fold the dough in half. Use a fork to press the edges of the cookie together and place it on the cookie sheet. When all cookies are formed, bake them at 350F/180C for about 17-20 mins. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a metal rack.

Dust powder sugar over each cookie.