Welcome to my blog! My name is Stephanie and I was born, raised, and still live just outside of Boston. I’m the mother of two children and I own a very small antique business, as well as a baking business. I love and appreciate all things old, whether antiques or architecture, and love to give items new life by repurposing.
I love food, too much, and I get immense joy from how my food can make others happy. One of the best compliments I have ever received was my daughter telling me that my cooking has ruined everything else for her. I’ll take that!
I’m much more of a baker than I am a cook. Not that I don’t like cooking, I just wish I didn’t have to do it every day. I’d much rather cook when I feel like it. But, since I don’t have a personal chef and my family is picky about eating every day, here I am. Part of the motivation behind this blog is not only to give me someone to talk to during the day other than my dogs, but to be able to share some of the recipes I’ve tried and really enjoy.
I also love to take pictures of every day things that just make me smile. So this blog is just going to be about “my slice of life” and I hope you’ll enjoy some of it!
I have been promising to make my son Tiramisu for quite some time. With the best of intensions I have purchased marscarpone cheese and lady fingers a number of times, only to then have them expire and go to waste. I have never been a big fan of Tiramisu, and this may have contributed to my avoidance in some way. However, I tried the Tiramisu at Eataly, a restaurant in Boston, and it was one of the best desserts that I have ever had. One of those desserts that you don’t want to end. It was that good.
So once again I purchased the marscarpone and lady fingers determined to not allow these ingredients to go to waste yet again. As I was looking for recipes, I decided to see if Eataly happened to publish their recipe. Well, they do! So that is what I made, and it tasted just like theirs. Delicious!
Did you know that raw eggs were part of the ingredients? I did not, and must admit I am a little funny about that. I am one of those moms that never let my children eat raw cookie dough because they could get sick. However, this dessert is so good that it was worth throwing caution to the wind. The next time I make this dessert I will see if I can find pasteurized eggs.
I made a half recipe as I realized the container of marscarpone I purchased was only one cup, and this recipe calls for two. Use a larger dish than I did when you go to make this, or make a half recipe if you only need a small amount.
On a side note, there is also folding involved in this recipe. If you are a Schitt’s Creek fan then you will appreciate why I was laughing while I was folding. “You just, here’s what you do, you just fold it in”. If you haven’t watched the show I suggest that you do, it’s hilarious.
Ingredients for the full recipe:
2 cups marscarpone cheese
5 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
5 tbsp. sugar
2 cups heavy cream
4 espresso shots ( I used about a cup of coffee)
1 (8.8 ounce) package of lady fingers
Divide the egg whites and yolks into separate mixing bowls.
Combine the yolks with the sugar and mix well. Add the marscarpone to this yolk/sugar mixture and combine well. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. There is a lot of whipping into stiff peaks in this recipe.
Beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Fold the egg whites into the marscarpone mixture.
Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour your espresso or coffee into a shallow bowl. Dip half of the lady fingers quickly into the coffee and line the bottom of the dish. Remember, I halved the recipe so you will need a larger dish than I have used.
Top the lady fingers with half of the marscarpone mixture. Repeat with the rest of the lady fingers and marscarpone mixture.
Sift cocoa powder over the top. As you can see I do nothing neatly when I bake.
Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
I love Zucchini Bread, but my son doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I do. Since this recipe makes two loaves and I really didn’t want to eat them both myself, I gave my recipe a little tweak with some cocoa powder and chocolate chips to see if it changed his mind. Voila, he liked it! Hey Mikey, he likes it! I might be dating myself with that commercial reference.
As I still prefer non-chocolate bread, I split the recipe in half and made one of each. You might notice that it doesn’t look like there is much batter in the photos, and that is the reason.
I wasn’t too sure how much additional liquid would be needed to offset the addition of the cocoa, so I tried adding 1/4 cup more oil. It seemed to have done the trick. I considered removing or decreasing the cinnamon, but I left it as it was and I’m glad that I did. Yum!
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
Grate the zucchini with the skin on and set aside. I didn’t measure but you want about 2 cups. Do not drain the zucchini as the moisture is needed for the bread.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the dry ingredients.
The batter is going to be very thick. It will change once the zucchini is added.
Add the zucchini and mix well. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Today I busted out my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook, her old Pyrex bowls, and got baking. I had never made Boston Cream Pie, but I figured if I were going to start I might as well use the recipe I grew up on. If you aren’t familiar with Boston Cream Pie, it is actually a cake and not a pie. The words pie and cake were used synonymously back in the 1800’s when cakes and pies were made in the same pans. It was created and served at the opening of the Boston Parker House, now the Omni Parker House, in Boston in 1856. All good things really do come from Boston don’t they?
The cake in the recipe calls for Betty’s Dinette cake recipe which is made all in one bowl, and baked in one pan. The ingredients for the cake are:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one round cake pan. I only had a 9″ pan and the cake was quite thin, an 8″ pan will make it a little thicker.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on low speed for 30 seconds while scraping the bowl constantly. Continue beating on high speed for 3 minutes scraping the bowl occasionally.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
Once the cake is cool prepare the cream filling.
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tsps vanilla
In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Combine the milk and egg yolks in a large measuring cup or small bowl and gradually stir into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Before cutting the cake I suggest refrigerating the cake as it is easier to work with if it is cold. To cut the cake in half use a small knife and cut around the cake. With a long serrated knife continue cutting except go all the way through. Using the long knife lift one half and put it on a cake stand or plate.
Cover the bottom half of the cake with the cream. Add the top half of the cake and start making the chocolate glaze.
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsps butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsps hot water
In a saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Add hot water starting with a tsp at a time, and stir until the glaze is the correct consistency. You want it thick, but soft enough that a little can fall over the side.
Spread the glaze over the top of the cake and let it spill over the edge a little.
Refrigerate before serving, and any leftovers. So good!
Strawberry and rhubarb are such a classic summertime combination. I had never had rhubarb until a number of years ago when we purchased a house that had a large rhubarb bush in the yard. At the time I baked a few things with the rhubarb, but after we moved I stopped. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.
This past Thanksgiving one of my daughter’s friends went to great lengths to track down rhubarb and make us a pie. It was delicious, and ever since my daughter has been mentioning that we should make a rhubarb pie. Yesterday we got some strawberries and rhubarb, and got baking. Wow am I glad we did! Sometimes I don’t realize how much I like something until I bake it myself, and that is why I share the recipes I love.
I pretty much flipped a coin on whether to use corn starch or flour to mix with sugar for this pie. I use corn starch in my blueberry pie and flour in my apple pie, and decided to go with flour for this pie. I kept it simple and wasn’t sure how it would taste. I’m not kidding when I say it is one of the best pies I’ve ever had. Lots of recipes on-line have some other ingredients which seem very unnecessary to me, sometimes simple is the best. You often see this type of pie with a lot of liquid, but as you can see this filling set beautifully.
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar, plus a little extra
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp water
Clean and slice the strawberries and rhubarb, set aside. I cut the strawberries into fourths, and did about 1/4″ – 1/2″ piece for the rhubarb. We started with 4 cups of fruit, but it didn’t seem like enough so we upped it to around 5 cups.
Snickerdoodles have never really been one of my favorite cookies because they are typically a crunchy cookie, and I prefer softer cookies. Recently my cousin made these cookies and I was surprised that they were soft, and very quickly became one of my new favorites. She was kind enough to share the recipe and today I gave them a try. So good!
If you like a crunchier Snickerdoodle, you can find another recipe in my blog that should satisfy your crunchy craving.
These are really easy to make, and a little too easy to eat multiple of in one sitting.
3 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, + 1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, or with a hand held mixer combine the softened butter and sugar on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined while scraping the bowl frequently.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Dough will be thick.
Combine the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon on a plate or in a bowl. Roll the dough into balls with your hands and roll the balls into the cinnamon sugar topping.
Place on the cookie sheets. You can top with a little more of the cinnamon sugar if you’d like, and honestly why wouldn’t you?
Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies may be puffy so you can flatten them a little with a spatula.
Let cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a cookie rack. Eat and repeat.
My son’s favorite kind of scone is mocha chip, and the best he has ever had comes from a local farm stand. Today I thought, let me give it a try and see how mine will compare. I took my plain scone recipe and gave it a little tweak, and they came out better than expected! I was skeptical using instant coffee, but it combined perfectly in the recipe.
My son was the taste test I needed, and when he got home he gobbled down 2 1/2 scones and said they were as good as the farm stand. Yes!
The key to making scones and biscuits is to use cold butter and to grate the butter with a cheese grater. Butter is quite slippery and will get warm from the heat of your hands, so keep it in the wrapper as best you can.
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. instant coffee or 2 tbsp. espresso powder
3/4 cup cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or half and half
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Grate the cold butter and cut it into the dry mixture with a pasty cutter or a fork and knife. As I states before, make sure the butter is cold.
Put the beaten egg in a measuring cup and then fill to the 1 cup mark with the milk or half and half. I used a combination of half and half and milk. Mix the two together and add a little at a time to the dry mixture.
The dough shouldn’t be too moist, just add enough so that the dough will stick together once kneaded. It won’t look like it will in the bowl, but you can tell by using your hands and squeezing some together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough in two, setting one half aside. Knead until it comes together. If it seems too sticky add more flour to the board. Roll the dough into a circle about a 1/2″ thick.
Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the dough into 6-8 pieces.
Place the scones on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until just brown.
In keeping with my goal to try as many vintage recipes as I can from my Mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook (Steph and Betty), I decided to give this cake a try. I don’t believe I have ever tried this type of cake, and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. Well, I have been missing out! This cake is so delicious with a slight crunchy butter brown sugar edge. Wow!
What makes it even better is the cake recipe is a one bowl recipe. I was worrying the cake wouldn’t come out of the pan or it wouldn’t look good, but it surprised me and was actually quite easy to make.
Let’s get baking!
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
Pineapple slices, drained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake batter by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl of a stand up mixer, or a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds scraping constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed scraping the bowl occasionally.
Set the batter aside.
Melt 1/4 butter over low heat in a 9″ round layer cake pan. Once melted I turned the pan to coat the sides with the melted butter as well.
Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in the pan and pat it down.
Place a pineapple ring in the center, and more rings around the edge. You could also cut the slices in half and be more creative if you choose.
Insert a cherry into each pineapple slice.
Top with the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Loosen the sides of the cake carefully with a butter knife. Place a plate over the pan and flip. Keep the pan on the plate for a few minutes before removing.