Archive for DESSERTS

Pumpkin-Carrot Crunch Cake

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, not just because of the beautiful fall colors and cooling temperatures, but because I love the smell of the house when I bake up a batch of pumpkin anything.  I say anything because my family loves most everything made with pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Turnovers (Pastit or Buchi Buchi), and one of our favorites — Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake.

This recipe is my take on the popular Pumpkin Crunch Cake that you must have seen making its rounds on the internet.

I make mine differently.  One thing I do differently is instead of sprinkling dry cake mix over the pumpkin filling, I make a cake and nut layer by mixing together melted butter, chopped nuts and the cake mix, then spreading it onto the bottom of a pan, making a delightful crust of sorts.

My pumpkin filling is essentially a custard, forming a rich and creamy layer on top of the cake and nut crust.

And finally, the top layer is not just plain old Cool Whip Whipped Topping, but a thicker version made so by adding sweet vanilla pudding to it.

My version also uses carrot cake instead of regular yellow cake mix, although yellow cake is perfectly fine if that’s what you prefer.  We love carrot cake in our house, so I incorporated two favorites into one, and voila, there you have my Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake!

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

PUMPKIN CARROT CRUNCH CAKE

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INGREDIENTS:

Pumpkin Filling:
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk OR heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cake & Pecan Crust:
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 box super moist carrot cake mix
Whipped Topping:
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding & pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling (pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk OR cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt). Set aside.

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3.  Finely chop the nuts using a food chopper or processor.

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4.  In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Cake & Pecan Crust (melted butter, chopped nuts, cinnamon and cake mix).  Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 cake pan with cooking spray (butter flavored, or the one for baking that has flour in it).  Spread the cake mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

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5.  Pour the pumpkin filling over the cake and pecan mixture.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45-50 more minutes. The cake is done when a knife inserted comes out clean and the sides are set (the pumpkin filling will look firm and dry from the edge of the pan inward about two inches) but the middle may still be jiggly.  When you take the cake out of the oven, it will continue to cook as it cools.  Allow the cake to completely cool on the countertop.  Top with Whipped Topping when the cake is completely cooled.

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6.  To make the whipped topping, place the Cool Whip into a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the dry pudding mix over the Cool Whip.  Add the milk.  Using an electric mixer, mix until all the ingredients are combined.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to set.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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7.  After the cake has cooled, top with the whipped topping mixture.

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8.  Serve and enjoy!

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Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins

My daughter and I came up with this recipe when we were looking for something to cook for breakfast that wasn’t the traditional fried eggs with bacon (and a side of rice, of course).

We also didn’t feel like having just plain old pancakes either, but we knew we wanted bacon.  Pancakes appealed to us, but again, we wanted something new and different.

That’s when our bacon maple pancake muffins were born.  I already had a very good pancake recipe, but I wanted to incorporate the taste of maple syrup into all aspects of what would become such pretty tasty meal that could very well double as dessert if so inclined.

I did a lot of research on how to make this turn out more than just a plain baked pancake batter.  I found out that maple syrup is slightly acidic, and therefore, I needed to counteract that by adding a bit of baking soda to my batter, in addition to baking powder, in order to get my muffins to rise properly.  As you can see in the photos below, these muffins have an nicely rounded dome.

I also didn’t want to serve these with a side of syrup, like we do with ordinary pancakes.  So my daughter and I decided to make a maple buttercream frosting to go on top.  I guess with the addition of the frosting, these muffins can also be called cupcakes.

What’s the difference between muffins and cupcakes, you ask?  Well, one school of thought is based on the ingredients used.  I’ve read that using more than a stick of butter and one egg makes a recipe a cake.  In my recipe, I use one stick of butter and one egg, so that’s why I call them muffins.  On the other hand, like I mentioned above, another school of thought is that if you add any type of frosting to this, it’s a cupcake.  So…what does that make my recipe….maybe I should call them muffincakes or cupcakins.  Hahaha … or maybe not.  😉

I think we should just call it DELICIOUS.  Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins topped with Maple Buttercream and Bacon Sprinkles

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Scroll all the way to the bottom for my complete recipe.  Each of the following photos describes my step-by-step process.

 

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Fry bacon until crisp.

 

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Mix the dry ingredients together.

 

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In a separate mixing bowl, roughly cream the butter and sugar together.

 

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I left a stick of butter on the countertop overnight to ensure it was softened in the morning.  You don’t need to use a whisk or mixer to cream the butter with the sugar.  I used a fork to do this since the butter was so soft.  *Note:  Do not use melted butter.

 

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Mix the egg into the butter-sugar mixture.  I pulled out a whisk to mix in the egg, but you can do this with a fork as well.

 

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This is what the egg-butter-sugar mixture looks like after mixing.

 

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Pour in the milk, maple syrup and vanilla exract.  There’s no need to mix — you’re going to dump this in with the dry ingredients and mix it there.

 

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In this step, stir the dry ingredients together to ensure the baking soda, baking powder and salt are mixed in with the flour.  The only equipment you need for this step is a mixing spoon.  Do not use an electric mixer — you only need to stir this for a few times to get the proper consistency.  In fact, over mixing this batter will make your muffins turn out tough and dense.

 

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Pour the liquid ingredients into the the bowl with the dry ingredients.

 

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Use a mixing spoon to mix it all together.  About 50 strokes should do it.  It’s okay if there are a few lumps in the batter.

 

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Crumble your cooked bacon ahead of time.  Half of it will go into the batter, the other half will be used to sprinkle on top the frosted muffins.

 

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Fold the bacon crumbles into the batter.  This is important:  DO NOT let the batter sit.  You want to bake this as soon as possible after mixing.  This is because once you’ve added the wet ingredients to the dry, the baking soda and baking powder start to work their magic and the batter will begin its “rising” process.  You don’t want it to rise while sitting in your mixing bowl–you want this magic to take place in the oven so that you have nice tall muffins with a rounded top.

 

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It’s a good idea to line your muffin tin ahead of time, so that you can immediately scoop your batter into them as soon as you’re done mixing it.  You’ll have just enough batter to make 12 muffins.  Use slightly less than 1/3 cup of batter in each muffin cup.

 

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Bake the muffins anywhere between 15-20 minutes.  The baking time will vary, depending on your oven.  My oven (not to mention I live at a relatively high altitude) tends to take a little longer to bake things.  I check for doneness about 2 minutes prior to the minimum cooking time.  In this case, I used a toothpick to test for doneness at the 13-minute mark.  My muffins were still a bit wet, so I baked them for an additional 5 minutes.

 

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The extra 5 minutes of baking did the trick.  The muffins should be a golden brown.  A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean, although a few crumbs sticking to it is okay.  Let the muffins cool completely before adding your frosting.

 

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Make the frosting while the muffins are cooling.
I also left these two sticks of butter out overnight to completely soften.

 

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You WILL need an electric mixer to make the frosting.  Because the butter is already soft, you don’t need to beat it.  I just turned my mixer on to low speed for a few seconds to spread the butter out a bit.

 

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Mix in the maple syrup and milk.

 

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Sift in the powdered sugar — I used a strainer to do this, but a flour sifter works well too.

 

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This shows 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.  My recipe calls for up to 4 cups of sugar — I only used 2.  You can use 3 or even the entire 4 cups of sugar if you like (it will be really sweet if you do).  The added sugar also serves to make your frosting stiffer, which is what you want if you plan on using a piping bag and decorating tip to decorate your muffins.  I didn’t want to do this with this batch — a softer frosting was good enough here since I only planned on using a small cookie scoop to scoop out enough frosting to top each muffin.

 

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Mix the sugar into the butter mixture until smooth and creamy.  Frost your muffins once they are completely cooled off; the frosting will melt if the muffins are still warm.

 

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I used a small cookie scoop to place even amounts of frosting on each muffin.  Slightly spread out the frosting to ensure the top of the muffin is covered.

 

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I suffer from a mild case of OCD.  I wanted to ensure that each muffin had equal amounts of bacon crumbles, so I broke each of remaining 6 bacon strips in half, then made 12 little piles of bacon crumbles.  (Don’t judge me.  LOL)

 

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Top each muffin with bacon crumbles.

 

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♬ ♩ ♫  ♪     Ta daa!!!!!!     ♬ ♩ ♫  ♪

 

imageThis is what the inside looks like — fluffy and moist.  And, as you can see on top, there is ample frosting on top.  These muffins are delicious without the added frosting, by if you are in mood to indulge, don’t skimp on the frosting.  All in all, these muffincakes are absolutely DELICIOUS!  Decide for yourself; give my recipe a try.  🙂

 

Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins with Maple Buttercream Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These muffins are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Perfect for breakfast, they also double as a dessert.
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Muffin Batter
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 thin slice maple bacon
Maple Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 6 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2-4 cup powdered sugar
Topping
  • 6 thin slice maple bacon
Instructions
Muffin Batter
  1. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and milk (there is no need to stir).
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Using a mixing spoon, stir to combine, about 50 strokes. Do not over mix; a few lumps remaining are okay.
  4. Fold in the bacon crumbles.
  5. Pour slightly less than ⅓ cup of batter into each well of a muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness at around 13 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean (a few crumbs are okay). The muffins should be golden brown in color when done. Do not over bake.
Maple Buttercream Frosting
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add the maple syrup and milk to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix to combine.
  3. Mix in the sifted powdered sugar, starting out with only 2 cups of sugar. Add more sugar to make a stiffer frosting (which is good if you're using cake decorating tips). Less sugar yields a creamier frosting. Frost the muffins after they've completely cooled off.
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Rosette Cookies

Rosette cookies are not native to Chamorro cuisine, but they are very popular on Guam.  I remember eating these cookies when I was a little girl — the more sugar on them the better!

My recipe for these crisp cookies adds cornstarch — this simple addition keeps the cookies nice and crispy for days, provided you store them in an airtight container (a ziplock bag works really well).

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like them.  🙂

ROSETTE COOKIES

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a shallow bowl, beat the two eggs.  Mix in the milk and water.

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2.  Mix in the flour, corn starch, sugar and salt.

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3.  Whisk until there are no more lumps.  The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.

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4.  Place the mold in the oil while the oil is heating up.

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5.  When the oil and mold are hot, lift the mold out of the oil.  Let as much of the oil drip off as possible (if you still have oil on the mold, the batter won’t stick to it).

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6.  Dip the mold into the batter, but careful not to submerge it.  Dip the mold only to just below the rim (if the batter goes over the rim, it won’t release into the hot oil).

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7.  Lift the mold up out of the batter.  Allow any excess batter to drip off.

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8.  Place the batter-covered mold into the hot oil.

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9.  Keep the mold submerged in the oil for about a minute or so — the rosette should drop right off the mold all by itself.  If it doesn’t drop off by itself, use a chopstick or fork to nudge the rosette off the mold.

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10.  Lift the mold out of the oil.  Fry the rosettes until golden brown.  Remove the rosettes from the oil and place in a metal colander to drip off any excess oil.

NOTE:  The mold must be hot before dipping in batter.  If the mold has cooled off (while you’re waiting for a batch of rosettes to fry), dip it back in the hot oil to reheat then repeat the process again.

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11.  While the rosettes are still hot (just after taking them out of the oil), shake them in granulated sugar, or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon (use as much cinnamon as you like).  I find it best to place the sugar (or cinnamon sugar) into a paper bag.  Place the rosettes in the paper bag, fold the paper bag closed, then shake-shake-shake to get the rosette coated all over with sugar.

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Here is a video that shows the dipping-frying process.

 

ENJOY!

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Champulådu

There are several Chamorro comfort foods that not only make me feel good right down to my bones, but bring back so many fond memories of growing up on Guam.

Champulådu is one of those dishes.  It’s a porridge of sorts, only made with rice, evaporated milk and CHOCOLATE!  I think that’s why I love it so much — who doesn’t love chocolate?

You don’t need too much rice for this dish.  A little goes a long way since you’ll be cooking the rice until it breaks down and thickens the liquid.

CHAMPULÅDU

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice, or 2 cups for a thicker “porridge”
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar

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Cooking Instructions:

1.  Wash the rice and place in a medium sized pot.  Add water and cook over medium high heat.  Keep the pot lit on until the rice begins to boil.

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2.  Once the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low; add cocoa powder, sugar, and milk.

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3.  Whisk to combine all the ingredients.  Continue to cook at a low simmer over medium-low heat for approximately 30 more minutes.  The mixture should thicken considerably during this time.  If it’s too thick for your liking, add more milk then adjust the sugar to taste.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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Madoya (Battered and Fried Bananas)

Here’s another very simple dish I’d like to share with you.  It’s called Madoya (pronounced ma-dô-ja), lightly battered then fried slices of banana.

This is another dish that brings back lots of amazing memories of growing up on Guam.  My aunt and uncle used to grow cooking bananas (see the photo below) and give our family several “hands” whenever they harvested some.   (A “hand”of bananas is what a section of bananas out of a bunch is called; it’s also referred to as a “tier”.)

The photo below was taken over 20 years ago.  My parents and aunt/uncle used to grow and sell vegetables at the (then) Harmon flea market, then subsequently at the Dededo flea market.  I used to LOVE going with them.  We’d get to the flea market well before any roosters were awake to set up our stand.  This photo shows (from L-R) my aunt, dad and mom (and another vendor checking out the competition) setting up green onions, kangkung, bread fruit, and several varieties of bananas for sale.  That’s Saba banana in the bottom left.

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This is a close up view of Saba banana.  It’s a great cooking banana, and is great for making madoya, golai åppan (bananas cooked with coconut milk and sugar), banana lumpia, grilled bananas, or even eaten as-is.

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I didn’t have any Saba bananas today, but I did have ripe plantains.  Be sure to read my post for grilled plantains — I have photos showing what ripe ones look like.

When I make madoya, I like for the banana to be the star of the show.  Therefore, I don’t make a super thick batter.  Instead, I make my batter thin, yet still thick enough to provide a nice coating when fried.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

 

MADOYA

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, water, cinnamon and sugar.

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The batter should drip quickly when you lift the whisk out of the bowl.  It’s much thinner than pancake batter.  (Sorry for the fuzzy photo below.)

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2.  Peel and slice the plantains into small slices (you can also slice them length-wise instead of across).

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3.  Place the banana slices into the batter.  Use a fork to gently stir the slices into the batter, carefully separating them (be careful not to mash the bananas).

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4.  Heat your oil.  Once the oil is ready, carefully drop in each slice.  Don’t put too many in at once or else they will stick together.

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5.  Fry until golden brown on both sides.  Remove from the oil; place the fried bananas on papers towels to drain.  Serve and enjoy!

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