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Spooky Meringue Ghost

Originally uploaded by ted_major

From 101 Cookbooks via Brown-Eyed Baker.


  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • small pinch cream of tartar
  • small pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • red hots or other small candies for eyes

Preheat oven to 200F. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating, and beat until egg whites form (very!) stiff peaks.
Gently scrape egg white mixture into pastry bag or gallon zipper bag with a spatula and gently squeeze out air. Cut tip off zipper bag, and pipe ghosts onto baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Make sure your ghosts are as nearly vertical as possible, or be prepared for major slumpage. Gently place eyes on ghosts.
Bake at 200F for 1 hour, the crack oven door for another 30 minutes. (Make sure the meringues and dry and firm before opening the door for the final half hour.) Let Meringues cool to room temperature in oven.


OK, so it’s not really ice cream, not having cream, but it’s the easiest ice cream you’ll ever make: there’s only one ingredient. This is a great way to use those slightly over-ripe brown bananas if you don’t feel like making banana bread. When the bananas get too brown throw them in the freezer, and once you have 3 or 4 stocked up, it’s time to make ice cream.

Take a few frozen bananas, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the peels. Break them into a few chunks, put them in a food processor, and process until smooth. You’ll have a frozen banana puree with the consistency of homemade ice cream. If you like, you can add a bit of honey, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Would would be good, as my dear wife points out, is to mix in some chocolate chips once you’re done pureeing, or maybe some chocolate sauce, or maybe even both.

Red Velvet Cake

Originally uploaded by ted_major

Say what you will, the Red Velvet Cake is the cake of all cakes: it’s chocolate, it’s red, it has white fluffy icing, and it even has it’s own urban legend. Before there was the Nieman Marcus Cookie, there was the Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake (The perils of linking to wikipedia: the Wikipedians have decreed that henceforth, the Waldorf-Astoria red velvet cake urban legend is no linger noteworthy. *sigh* At least Snopes still mentions it as the ancestor of the Nieman-Marcus cookie recipe).  I have taken some liberty in substituting a boiled frosting for the original milk and flour-based frosting, but here is “the” Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake:

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. vinegar (mixed with)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) red food coloring
  • 4 Tbs. cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. buttermilk

Cream sugar and butter, then add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add food coloring and vanilla; beat well.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk and vinegar-soda mix. Always add some flour last.

Bake 30minutes at 350F in 2 8″ cake pans. Cool and split layers. Frost–I like boiled frosting, original frosting recipe follows.

Boiled Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs white corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • a few grains salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Boil together sugar, corn syrup, and water until it reaches 240F. Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff. Pour the hot syrup slowly over them beating constantly until all the syrup is used. Add vanilla and beat until mixed.

Waldorf-Astoria Frosting

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/s c. shortening
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook milk and flour together in a double boiler until thick. While hot, add pinch of salt. Set aside and cool.

In mixer, beat vanilla,sugar, butter, and shortening at high speed until fluffy. Add milk and flour mixture, beat until fluffy, and spread.

Looks good–wish I’d seen it in time to stop by the store on the way home:

Coffee, chocolate, and bourbon

Oatmeal-Banana-Raisin Cookies

Originally uploaded by ted_major

• 1/2 cup canola
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 banana, mashed
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, such as Wheat Montana Prairie Gold
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 3 cups oatmeal
• 1 cup currants (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 350F (use convection if you have it).

Combine oil, sugar, and banana, whisking until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk again. Fold in flour, soda, and cinnamon. Add oatmeal and currants, and stir until well mixed.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 10 minutes or to your liking.

Pumplin Flan

Pumpkin Flan

The problem with pie in general and pumpkin pie in particular is the crust. I’ll grant that someone, somewhere, makes a good pie crust. By and large, however, pie crust is at best filler, and at worst, indistinguishable from greasy cardboard. The solution? Pumpkin flan: all filling, no crust, with a bonus caramel sauce.

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 whole large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin (1 3/4 cups; not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make caramel:
Cook 1 1/2 cups sugar in a dry 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Pour into twelve 6-oz. ramekins, then let harden. To make one large flan, pour caramel into a 2-quart Pyrex dish.

Make flan:
Bring cream and milk to a bare simmer in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat. Whisk together whole eggs, yolk, and remaining cup sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt until combined well. Add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking.

Ladle custard over caramel in ramekins, then bake in a water bath until flan is golden brown on top and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes, or 1 hour 15mins for a single flan.  Remove flan(s) from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 6 hours.

To serve:
Run a thin knife between flan and side of ramekin to loosen. Shake dish gently from side to side and, when flan moves freely in dish, invert a dessert plate over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. (Caramel will pour out over and around flan.) Serve flan with gingered (or cinnamon) whipped cream.

Chocolate Cake

Originally uploaded by ted_major

Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
Cake ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C. flour
  • 2 Tbs. dutch-process cocoa (I used Hershey’s Dark)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Frosting ingredients:

  • 2/3 C. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips (or 9 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped)

The cake:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch cake pan (Pam baking spray is fast & easy, but use oil & flour if you prefer).
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a large mixing cup mix liquid ingredients and eggs. Pour liquids into bowl and mix until smooth.
Bake 35 minutes or until done (a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean).
Cool completely (refrigerate for 30 mins to an hour if necessary) and slice into 2 thin layers.
The frosting:
Heat cream in a small saucepan–you want the cream hot enough to melt the chocolate, but not scalded or simmering. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Cool until thickened.
Ice the cake and chill in the refrigerator to harden the frosting.
Adapted from the Easy Chocolate Cake recipe at CacaoWeb. Thanks!