Olive Oil Cake with Pine Nuts and Currants

Olive Oil Cake with Pine Nuts and Currants I’ve been teaching cooking classes at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, and recently we did a series on Italian regional cooking. One of the recipes that made an impression on me was a Tuscan Pine Nut Cake. Very moist and flavorful, this was the kind of cake to serve not just after a meal, but with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or with a glass of champagne for brunch. A simple cake, but it has a lot possibilities.

Being a chef and recipe developer, I couldn’t just be happy with that recipe.  I made the cake again, but tweaked it here and there, and then went back and tweaked it again.

This is my version of the Tuscan Pine Nut Cake, not quite original, but so, so good.

 

Olive Oil Cake with Pine Nuts and Currants

Pine Nut Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • ½ cup moscato wine
  • ⅔ cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to make the cake place the currants and wine into a small bowl and cover.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan or 9 inch springform pan.
  4. In a mixer with the whip attachment on medium high speed, whip the turbinado and brown sugars, eggs and egg white about 5 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
  5. Lower the speed, add the olive oil, vanilla and almond extracts and salt, mix until just combined.
  6. Remove the currants from the wine, and add to the batter along with the flour and ⅔ of the pine nuts.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining pine nuts on top.
  8. Bake the cake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool cake completely before serving.

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

This is the kind of meal I like to order when I go out to breakfast. I used to make this kind of breakfast at home, but when you have a hungry kid with zero patience, you go for the quick option most of the time. But the great thing about this Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries  Casserole is that you can make it the night before, then bake it in the morning!

Once again, I am working with Johnsonville Sausage to create a new recipe for a holiday casserole. For me, the best part of the holiday season is watching my daughter unwrap her Christmas gifts. Paper is ripped and tossed at warp speed. Cats pounce on the discarded ribbons with abandon. I sit there groggy, taking photos and enjoying the ear to ear grins and cries of joy and excitement.

But the minute the rampage subsides, my daughter will turn and look at me, asking “What’s for breakfast?”

This is where having an assembled casserole ready to baked is so wonderful. Whether it is Christmas morning, New Year’s day or any old day, all you have to do is turn on the oven, pop the casserole in and sit back and enjoy your family while it bakes.

 

Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole Ingredients

I like to buy ready to eat sausage links and patties because of my impatient and hungry child. I used Johnsonville Fully Cooked Original Recipe Breakfast Sausage for this casserole. If you do not eat pork, they also have a delicious turkey breakfast sausage, which will work just fine in this recipe.

If you are making this casserole the night before, assemble it completely, like the photo below.

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

Cover the casserole tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Cooks Tip: If using a mandolin style slicer for the potatoes, slice them directly into a bowl of cold water. This stops discoloration and will crisp up the potatoes. If cutting by hand, place them into cold water after cutting.

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package Johnsonville Original Recipe Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 garnet yams (about 1½ pounds) peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into matchstick size pieces
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F
  2. Coat a 9X13 baking pan non stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together salt, pepper and thyme in small bowl.
  4. Layer ⅓ of both types of potatoes in the bottom of baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the spice mixture.
  6. Top with ⅓ each of the sausage, peppers and shallots.
  7. Repeat the layering twice until casserole assembled.
  8. Place the pieces of butter on top, then cover with foil.
  9. Bake 40 minutes, remove foil, bake additional 15 - 20 minutes to brown potatoes.

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.

Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? Who doesn’t like peanut butter cups? Put them together and you have these heavenly Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups!

I’m working with Nestle Toll House on this post, to tell you all about Speed Scratch baking. Speed what, you say? Speed Scratch, or utilizing a convenience product as a component in an otherwise from scratch recipe. I don’t know about you, but I am crazy busy most of the time. As much as I would like to cook and bake from scratch all the time, it is not going to happen. Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough is the perfect dessert hack. It can be a base for a cookie bar, a crust, a topping and so much more. In this case, I transformed it into a peanut butter cup.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Toll House Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers Cookie Bar Dough are pre-cut and easy to break apart, making it perfect for last minute desserts or just as a treat. I love that you can break off one or two cookies, bake them, eat them and not have to worry about eating too many cookies. If there are cookies to be eaten in my house, I eat them.  And my waistline is a testament to that.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) package Nestle Toll House Ultimates Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Separate the cookie dough into 12 cookies.
  3. Cut each cookie into quarters. You will have 48 pieces of cookie dough.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and peanut butter, until the mixture becomes a crumbly paste.
  5. Using clean hands, form 24 balls from the peanut butter filling.
  6. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Place one piece of cookie dough into each cup, pressing the dough flat and up the sides of the muffin pan.
  8. Place one peanut butter ball into each cup of the muffin pan.
  9. Slightly flatten another piece of the cookie dough, then gently press it over the peanut butter ball.
  10. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
  11. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, until cookie is browned and done.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  13. Cool the cookies at least 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan.
  14. Cool the cookies completely on the rack.

 

And to make this even better, I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram! The prize is a $10 gift card to Amazon.

Here is what you need to do to qualify for the giveaway:

1. Follow @NestleTollHouse and @CherylDLee on Instagram.

2. Scroll through the @NestleTollHouse feed and pick a recipe you would like to try!

3. Leave a comment on my Instagram post with the following hashtags: #BakeTrendy #NestleTollHouse #sweepstakes

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

The Dairy Good Cookbook

Dairy Good CookbookPeople who have know me for a long time know that I have a love for cows. In my home you will find cow bowls with little pink udders for the feet, a cow cookie jar, cow salt and peppers shakers. You get the idea.I’ve always loved their big eyes and gentle nature, but wasn’t a collector of cow items until one fateful day. While talking with my friend Victoria, she called me “mujer,” which is woman in spanish. I heard the word “Moo-head,” which prompted me to say “Don’t be calling me a cow!” After laughing at me for an eternity, Victoria explained she said mujer not moo-head. Since then I have received cow themed gifts from both Victoria and her sister Rebecca. And I buy them for my cow collection, which is always growing.
At the county fair, one of the first places I head to is the nursery barn, hoping to see those cute little baby cows! Last year my daughter and I almost got to see a calf being born, but missed it by a few minutes. Mama was in very active labor when we arrived, but just like we human mamas, we have that baby when that baby is ready to be had! We checked back in a few hours and there on the straw was a skinny little calf resting from its journey into this world.
I am working with DairyGood.Org, a website where you can find all things dairy. They have just released a brand new cookbook, The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families. This is the first book from dairy farmers and those who bring dairy products from around the world to your table to share wholesome dairy ingredients.
This book features more than 100 recipes that showcase the unique tastes and versatility of dairy – from cheese and yogurt to milk and butter. The book celebrates the nation’s more than 47,000 dairy farm families and their contributions to our American life.
As I read the profiles of the dairy farmers included in this book, what struck me most was that they were almost all multi-generational family farms. The children help out by doing chores around the farm. Some of the children have returned to the farm after having other careers in the city. One farm, which was started in 1875 in the countryside, now is next door to the city of Milwaukee, which has expanded in the 140 years the farm has been in operation.

In Moreno Valley, CA, about 1 1/2 hours from my home, is the farm of Brad and Sally Scott. California is in an epic drought period, but the Scott farm has learned to work around that. They use treated wastewater and rainwater to irrigate their crops. They grow 70% of the food the herd of 1,100 Holstein cows need. And they generate their own electricity with solar panels mounted of the feed shed. This century old farm is almost completely self-sufficient.

 

Scott Family Dairy Farm
Photo courtesy of Peter Krumhart and Dean Tanner

 

There are so many delicious recipes compiled in this cookbook from the dairy farmers themselves. One recipe I will be making soon is the Pumpkin Date Stack Cake with Mascarpone Frosting. Pumpkin puree is available year round, so I don’t think I will wait until fall to make it!

Dairy Good Pumpkin Mascarpone Cake

 

Pumpkin Date Stack Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 - 16 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter + more for pans
  • 2 cups cake flour + more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pitted chopped dates
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • chopped pitted dates for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the molasses, blend thoroughly.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg.
  7. In a medium bowl mix the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.
  8. Alternately add the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.
  9. Stir in the dates.
  10. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  11. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  12. Place the cakes on a wire and cool for 10 minutes.
  13. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely.
  14. With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed, until smooth and creamy.
  15. Add the powdered sugar to the mixture slowly.
  16. Add the vanilla extract, mix well.
  17. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth.
  18. Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate.
  19. Spread one third of the frosting on top.
  20. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  21. Chill for at least one hour.
  22. Garnish the cake with chopped dates before serving.

 

 

The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families is available nationwide wherever books are sold or you can purchase online using the links below. And visit DairyGood.org to learn more about the goodness of dairy foods and the farmers who bring them to us.

Amazon

 Barnes and Noble

 Indie Bound

 

Last but not least,  there is a giveaway!

Though the Dairy Good Cookbook, dairy farmers share their secret (and not so secret) stories, traditions, and family recipes that have been passed down through generations. For a chance to win a copy of the Dairy Good Cookbook and a $75 gift card, share a dairy recipe or dish (made with milk, cheese and/or yogurt) with a story of how it’s passed down through the generations in your family, or is tied to a special tradition or occasion meaningful to you.

 

Learn even more about Dairy Good on social media.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

 

This article is sponsored by Dairy Good. All opinions and text are my own.

Entry Instructions:

You may receive (1) total entry by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 6/2/2015 – 6/30/2015

Be sure to visit The Dairy Good Cookbook’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Tea Time with Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

This post is sponsored by Nestle Toll House

 

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

Before the technological world took over, kids often played in an imaginary world. A world where you had tea parties with all your favorite stuffed animals or battled the evil dragon with swords made from sticks. Using Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Dough, my daughter was able to plan and enjoy a lovely tea party with all of her furry friends.

Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Dough, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, provides convenient and delicious cookie dough for any occasion. Having cookie dough already portioned out makes it so easy for little hands to work with.

Making Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes is so simple when using this dough. I found the a seasonal Springtime Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies with pink and yellow chips at my local grocery store.  With such festive colors these cookies are perfect for a tea party or Easter dinner.

To make the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes, break off two squares of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Firmly press them into a mini bundt cake pan or muffin tin.

Making Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

 

Making Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

 

Making Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

Bake the cookies at 350° F for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned and baked through.

Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

 

Tea Party with Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes!

 

Tea Party with Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes!

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes

 

 This post contains is a sponsored post. I may receive compensation in the form of monetary compensation or product compensation in exchange for my review. I take pride in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. And while this post is sponsored all the opinions are my own.