I would never have thought of putting these two delectable treats together to create one memorable dessert. But that’s exactly what happens when you combine Greek Baklava with New York cheesecake. What you get is a delicious, creamy cheesecake filling in a sweet and crunchy phyllo dough cup. The individual servings can be made in a cupcake pan, but are much more suited for muffin tins. Got a special event coming up? The Baklava Cheesecake Cups, with their sweetened raspberries and sugared rosemary twig garnish will provide the wow factor on your dessert plate both in flavor and presentation!
The Iconic Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake
Passion, romance or chocolate. Which do you prefer for Valentine’s Day? It’s not that we don’t love Love. But dang it if chocolate doesn’t steal the ol’ heart, right? So just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m featuring an iconic dessert that actually put the Bundt Cake on the culinary map. It was 1966 at the 17th Annual Pillsbury Bake Off Content. She wasn’t even the first place winner, but Ella Rita Helfrich set the world on molten chocolate fire with her second place winning Tunnel of Fudge Cake. Up until Ella pulled her cake out of the oven, the Nordic Ware company was not having great success with their unusual invention, the Bundt Pan. In fact, they were about to discontinue the line due to lack of sales. What a difference one day and one cake can make! The recipe was such a smash hit nationwide, that the company had to make 30 thousand pans a day just to keep up with the demand! So this fudgy cake is not just a lavish, chocolately gooey-centered yummy work of art, but it was actually responsible for the whole Bundt Pan craze! The cake itself proved just as popular as the pan. But then! Pillsbury discontinued the crucial ingredient to the cake’s success, Double Dutch Frosting Mix, and angry fans of the cake deluged the company with complaints, prompting Pillsbury to adapt the recipe, replacing the frosting mix with cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Ella won $5,000 for her creation, but its unique mysterious chocolate tunnel, brownie-like consistency and silken chocolate topping makes is worth a million bucks which, incidentally, is what the winner takes home today! So, again, let me ask you. Passion, romance or chocolate? Read on!
Chili Verde with Cornmeal Dumplings
I’m always looking for “the one.” You know, the one recipe that you can count on time and time again to be a crowd pleaser. Sometimes you’ll send me recipes with in-depth stories about the memories behind the meals, which I love. Sometimes I’ll simply get a recipe saying it’s a family favorite. I’ve come to know that if you believe the dish is good enough to pass along, more than likely it’s a winner, and I’m grateful that its landed in my lucky hands. Now you have another one in the Southwest cuisine category–a fabulously simple, incredibly tasty recipe for New Mexico Chili Verde. There’s a great technique in the recipe that really adds to the flavor of the chile verde, one that I have come to use often in stews and chili’s. It’s flour that you heat up in a dry skillet until it turns light brown and imparts an amazing toasted nut aroma. Get those flour tortillas warmed up and pour yourself a big bowl of New Mexico Chile Verde!
Ham, Gruyère and Spinach Bread Pudding
If you think that bread pudding is just a dessert, I’m about to change your mind in a delicious and surprising way. Imagine a savory soufflé-like bread pudding with a good quality ham (smoked is delightful), the sweet and slightly salty flavor of Gruyère cheese, fresh sautéed spinach and roasted red peppers all baked to perfection. This dish is so appetizing and versatile it can be enjoyed as a main meal or sliced in wedges for the perfect holiday party appetizer. Where did I find this sumptuous selection? In the Sing For Your Supper Cookbook compiled by the Sounds of the Southwest Singers. This 85-plus member non-profit volunteer choir has been singing in the Valley since 2010, performing a variety of music in concerts throughout the year. Members have sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and by the recipes in this cookbook, it’s apparent that this group can cook as well as they can sing! Make this dish and you’ll be singing for your supper too!
Looking back, I feel so guilty. It was the late 60’s. I was in my teens–the years my Mom referred to as “my little hippy daughter’s crazy time.” For some reason I became obsessed with making homemade bread and culturing my own yogurt for the family. I made a loaf of fresh bread every single day and drove my family absolutely nuts in the process. I was convinced that if someone shut a door too forcefully or raised their voice too loudly while the bread was still in the oven, it could cause the bread to fall. That poor family. For one hour every single day, they had to tip-toe around and whisper until my loaf came out safe and sound. For some reason, they put up with it, and I don’t think the bread was even that good. That was just bread. Can you imagine what a mess I would have been had I obsessed over soufflé instead? Ah, soufflé. Whether savory or sweet, it’s one of those things that people tend to fret over. Will it puff up? Will it fall? Where did I go wrong? So when I came across a very old soufflé recipe in a school fundraising cookbook, I almost passed on it. But that would have been a huge mistake. This recipe for Broccoli Soufflé is about as delicious and fool-proof as it gets, and is now one of my very favorite veggie dishes. Interestingly, the recipe calls for heating the milk and adding chicken bouillon to it, which I had never heard of before. It added so much flavor to the dish that I wish I would have known about that technique years ago! Somebody knew what they were doing with this Broccoli Soufflé and I’ll bet they didn’t even drive their family crazy in the process.
Swig Sugar Cookies
If you don’t want another cookie addiction, then maybe you’ll want to bypass this week’s column. If, however, you want to jump on America’s latest cookie craze, then you’ve come to the right place! Swig cookies, with their scrumptious pink frosting and craggy edges, are somewhere between a soft sugar cookie and shortbread, and they have certainly won our hearts! (To date, there are about 41 million search results for Swig Cookies on Pinterest. I’d say we are obsessed with these sweet treats!) The Swig cookie originated in Saint George, Utah in 2010 at the Swig Drive-by Drink Shop. Known for their signature frosty drinks and sweets, Swig has now expanded to multiple locations in Utah and several other states. The minute I heard about them I employed “The Niece Factor.” That’s when I make a big batch of cookies and drive them over to my nieces and wait for their response. With these Swig Cookies I got a text about 20 minutes later (before I even got home!) that the entire batch has been devoured. That’s good enough for me! I think you’re going to like these cookies. They’re fun to make and may even be worthy of a spot on your holiday cookie exchange platter this year.