New York Times Original Plum (or any other fruit) Torte


As I mentioned we’ve had a few birthdays around here lately. Birthdays always involve lots of cooking and baking of new recipes and old recipes. This one here is apparently an old recipe that is new to me.

I needed a simple cake to serve on my daughter’s “real” birthday, which fell on a weeknight, which meant I did not have time to create an extravagant cake per usual. This recipe has RAVE reviews on NYT and seemed so simple I couldn’t resist giving it a shot. Well, it had RAVE reviews in my kitchen as well. Family described it as, “A delicious giant biscuit” and “crispy on the outside but so crumbly on the inside.” Everyone demanded the recipe.

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of it after it was baked but I did manage to capture the photo above pre-oven. (I am just trying to get my head back into blogging!) As you can see I used strawberries instead of plums, as they are the birthday girl’s favorite. Any stone fruit would work well. Also, commenters in the original NYT article suggested raspberries and blueberries. While I served ours after dinner topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, it can certainly be eaten as a coffee cake alongside a cup of hot tea or at breakfast.

I made one substitution by using gluten free rice flour (from Trader Joe’s) instead of white flour. This was the first time of done that. No one seemed to notice! Gluten free flour in birthday cake for the win!

Enjoy, my friends.

New York Ties Plum (or any other fruit) Torte:

  •  cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour (I used Gluten Free Rice Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  Pinch of salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums or as many sliced strawberries as you’d like
  •  Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves (or other fruit) skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Bake 45 minutes , approximately. Remove and cool. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from recipe found here on




Broccoli Rabe Crockpot Meatballs


Happy Fall! I am posting this recipe so that I will not forget how much I loved this meal. I rely on as a place to find our favorite recipes. Whenever I am at a loss of what to cook for dinner, or if someone asks me to bring an appetizer to a party, or I need to make a dessert, I come to this site to find my favorites curated and easily accessible.

SO here we go. I recently made Skinny Taste Broccoli Rabe Crockpot meatballs and instantly fell in love. They are DELICIOUS. And so easy. I made one substitution–instead of the bread I used one cup of oatmeal because my husband is gluten free. I was wary of how it would work but then very pleasantly surprised by the result. The oatmeal gave the meatballs a nice firmness and great texture. And they reheated really well the days following. I served over quinoa and with a side salad. To my future self–do not forget about this recipe!!

Skinny Taste Crockpot Broccoli Rabe Meatballs:

  • 1 bunch  broccoli rabe, washed, stems trimmed off
  • 1 cup gluten free oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons  milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves smashed garlic
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the broccoli rabe. Blanch for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, drain well and set aside in a colander to cool. Finely chop 3/4 cup of the florets and leaves (3-3/4 ounces) and set the rest aside for another use
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the oatmeal with milk, tossing to coat. Let stand, mixing occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef, chopped broccoli rabe, grated cheese, egg, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with clean hands, then gently form into 15 meatballs, about 1/4 cup each and transfer to a large baking sheet. Broil on the 2nd rack from the top until the top is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. In a small skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until golden on both sides.
  5. Pour the crushed tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf and the garlic. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, cover and cook low 4 to 6 hours or high 2 to 3 hours.

Source: Skinny Taste








Rainbow Jello for a Rainbow Party


Little girls are growing up mighty quickly in our household. Somehow someway we managed to celebrate two birthdays within the passed few months. How quickly the months and years are passing! I’d be lying, however, if I said I don’t love to plan a party. And a party with a good old theme is what gets me especially giddy. For my little one we did a rainbow theme in the spring. Pinterest became my best friend because more than ANYONE Pinterest LOVES a rainbow theme party. (If you don’t believe me, check for yourself!)

Together my girls and I tackled this Rainbow Jello mold. If you plan to make this, choose a day when you will be home for several hours. While there isn’t significant hands on time required, there is substantial waiting time required between each step.  The final product looked so pretty on the table and the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on it! And it tasted delicious!

Rainbow Jello Mold:

7  3 oz. packages of flavored gelatin

  • 1 purple
  • 1 blue
  • 1 green
  • 1 yellow
  • 1 orange
  •  2 red
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • 8 3/4 cup boiling water

First, empty your packages of gelatin powder into 6 separate containers.  The containers need to be able to hold at least 1 1/4 cups of hot liquid. You will need a bigger bowl for the red one as you will be using two boxes of that one.

Next, stir 1 1/4 cups boiling water into each flavor (2 1/2 cups for the red). Stir each until gelatin is completely dissolved. You will want to position your glasses in opposite order of the rainbow as we will start with purple and end on red.

Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray, this will help the Jello mold release easily once it is set. Once you have done that you can start adding colors.

Add 3/4 cup of your purple gelatin into the bundt pan and then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Make sure you set a timer for each layer as knowing when to add the next layer is important.  You must chill each layer long enough to partially set, but not too long otherwise the next layer will not stick.

Take the remaining purple gelatin and add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the yogurt and stir until completely dissolved.  Make sure there are no yogurt lumps.  Place this mixture into the refrigerator to chill until your first 15 minutes is up.

Once your timer goes off, take your bundt pan and yogurt mixture out of the refrigerator.  You will first want to test the gelatin in the pan to make sure it is set enough to take the next layer.  You will test this by lightly touching the jello with a finger tip and lifting up right away.

The jello should stick to your finger and leave a slight impression in the jello.  If you have that, then you are ready to add your next layer.

Now you want to add your yogurt mixture. With a spoon very gently and slowly add your yogurt mixture to the set jello layer. Make sure your spoon is low when you add the yogurt mixture.  This will ensure you don’t break through the bottom layer when you pour it in.

Continue until all of the yogurt mixture is added.  Place back into the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.

Complete this same process with the rest of the gelatin colors.  Red will be your last layer, which will be a double layer. Use 1 1/2 cups of the liquid jello for the clear layer and 1 cup mixed with 4 Tablespoons yogurt for the creamy layer.

The other jello colors can remain on the counter during this entire process.

I have never had any of the waiting jello start to set.  If this should happen though, simply fill a bowl with hot water and place your jello container inside of the water bowl and stir until the set jello loosens up and turns back into liquid.

Your cooling time will lessen with each layer added as the cooler the jello gets, the less time it takes to set.  Also, each layer gets thinner and thinner so will chill quicker.  So each layer might not take the entire 15 minutes.  When I get to the green layer I start checking around 10-12 minutes and adjust accordingly.

Once you have added all 12 layers, let the filled mold set overnight.

When you are ready to release the mold, simply fill your sink with warm (not hot) water. The water should cover the majority of the bundt pan, but should not come all the way to the top.  You do not want any water to get into the jello mold.

Let your mold sit in the warm water for about 10-15 seconds.  You will see the side of the jello get a little shiny and liquefy slightly.  That is a good sign that the jello has separated from the mold.

Once you see that, take your mold out of the water and dry off the pan.  Take the plate that you will be serving the jello on (should be flat and at least 2-3 inches wider than your mold) and sprinkle a couple drops of water around where the jello will be touching the plate.  This will allow the jello to adjust and spread a little once it is released. Now place the lightly moistened plate over the jello mold.  With a good grip on the mold and plate, flip the plate and mold over.  Slowly lift your mold and the jello should release easily.  If any water has accumulated on the plate around the jello, simply take a paper towel and wipe until clean and dry.

Recipe found here on Glitter and Goulash.



Chocolate Heart Cake with Ganache


Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! It sure is a cold one here in the Northeast! All the better for snuggling, I suppose. 🙂

Today I bring you a heart-shaped chocolate cake topped with thick fudgy ganache and raspberries. Pinterest takes all the credit here. This cake is created by pouring batter into one 8 inch square pan  and one 8 inch round pan then baking and slicing the round cake in half. See below.


I used this oldie but goodie chocolate cake recipe which originates from Annie’s Eats. I then slathered on thick fudgy ganache (made using this recipe). Top with raspberries (little kid fingers are especially helpful here) and enjoy!

Wishing you lots of love and chocolate on this cold Valentine’s Day!


Gingerbread Cupcakes


Happy New Year! Hard to believe we are already THREE weeks in to 2016. I have no idea how that happened. It’s almost every day that I think, “Man, I wish I had a pause button.” The time seems to FLY by these days. Anyone else feel that way?

So rewinding…. I was charged with making a few desserts for Christmas Eve this year. Dinner is a sit down affair for 32 (that’s not a typo: THIRTY TWO) people. Baked stuffed lobster, linguini with anchovy sauce, fried scallops, and stuffed calamari are just  a few of the delicacies my mom prepares. Dessert is typically on the lighter side. Easy bites people can pick up and nibble on while sipping homemade lemoncello are best.

While cruising around Pinterest I found these adorable looking cupcakes. The mini Wilton sugar gingerbread men that Sally’s Baking Addiction  put on top of her cupcakes are adorable. I ran around to all of our local craft stores and could not find them. These cute little trees had to work–and they did! I love the winter wonderland-y effect they have when perched on top of the thick cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes were moist and satisfying and would be a tasty addition to any winter dinner.


Gingerbread Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice


Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In a large bowl using a  stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk, molasses, and vanilla on. Mixture will look slightly curdled.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


In a medium bowl using a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter together on until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more tablespoon of milk if needed to thin out. Beat for 1 minute.

Frost cooled cupcakes immediately before serving. Decorate with sprinkles of cinnamon and your choice of candy.


Recipe credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction



Spooky Halloween Pops


My daughter and I had a great time making these pops together! They seem like such an old school treat. I remember my mom making candy pops for my preschool class and it is something I’ve wanted to do for my daughter’s school. She had so much fun being creative with the colors and got a hoot out of the fact she was using “paint brushes” in candy!

There isn’t really a recipe here–more just a handful of supplies and a method. All of it is spelled out on the back of each bag of Wilton candy melts. I found everything we needed at Michael’s (which by the way is having a 70% off sale on all Halloween items right now) but I am sure you could find it all on Amazon or even easier just order straight from the Wilton Web site.

Spooky Halloween Pops


  • Wilton candy molds of your choice (we used pumpkins, Dracula teeth and eyeballs)
  • Wilton candy melts, any colors
  • Wilton candy brushes
  • Lollipop sticks
  • clear candy bags
  • curly ribbon


Place candy melts in microwave safe bowls. (One bowl for each color you are using.) Melt according to package directions. Mix well. Using candy brushes to paint your molds as you desire. Use a teaspoon to fill the remaining portion of the mold. Place a lollipop stick on each candy-filled mold and roll so that entire stick is immersed. Let harden over night or pop in the fridge until set.

Place each pop in a plastic candy bag and secure with a piece of ribbon.


Chewy Molasses Cookies


Fall! I love it more than ever. The season is even more exciting now that there are two little girls trailing behind me eating up the season as much as I do. We have been baking cookies, taking hikes, going on bike rides, perusing the Halloween decoration aisles of every store and crunching our sneakers through the leaves in our yard. The girls are bursting at the seams with excitement for Halloween and our little countdown calendar is a huge source of pleasure.


We had a few parties to go to last week and I found myself needing a straightforward recipe that could be made with little notice. These Chewy Molasses cookies fit the bill and I ended up baking several batches over the course of the week. They are thick, chewy, and full of flavor. I especially like that they are sturdy and hold up well to a warm cup of tea. The sanding sugar gives a welcomed little crunch and they have a kick of ginger that was well-received by all. These cookies remind me that it is sometimes the simplest ingredients that yield the most delicious items.

Chewy Molasses Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • coarse sanding sugar (we roll the cookies in this just prior to baking)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In one bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In another bowl whisk egg, butter, white sugar, molasses, and brown sugar. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and roll into sanding sugar. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or silpat) 2 inches apart. Bake for 5 minutes then rotate sheet pan and bake for another five minutes, or until cookies puff up and crack. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Bon Appetit.