At Mimi's Table

. . . lessons from an older and wiser girl

Decadently Rich and Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

at mimis table decadent rich fudgy brownies 2

 

Decadently Rich and Fudgy Chocolate Brownies are guaranteed to satisfy any chocolate-lovers fantasy. WOW! These are the best brownies I’ve ever made.

The best part is that they’re made in one bowl, just as easy as any boxed brownie mix. You can bake the batter in a 9×9 inch or 9×13 inch baking dish. I chose the 9×9 route because I wanted thick chewy brownies. The secret ingredient is the addition of instant coffee. Yep – instant coffee granules are known to intensify chocolaty flavor. And these fudgy brownies are very chocolaty. The recipe calls for chocolate chips and cocoa powder in the batter and more bittersweet chocolate chips mixed into the batter before baking. I have to make a confession . . . As soon as the baking was done and the brownies properly cooled, I wacked off a healthy chunk and kept it on my kitchen counter while I cooked dinner. Every once in a while, I’d have to sample a small bite to make sure the finished product was a good as I remembered. I whittled off little pieces until the whole chunk was gone! And then there were more brownies for dessert! Heavenly! Frosting would be overkill, in my opinion. But if that’s the way you roll, I won’t judge you. Serve with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Thanks, Sam! See original recipe at sugarspunrun.com  “Brownies from Scratch”)

Let’s whip up a batch, shall we? Be sure to have plenty of cold milk or hot coffee at the ready.

 

Decadently Rich and Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
 
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Would you describe yourself as a "chocoholic?" If the smell and taste of chocolate makes your heart skip a beat, these fudgy brownies are for you!
Author:
Recipe type: Brownies
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12-18
Ingredients
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butte or 1 12/ sticks cut into Tablespoon-size pieces
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup cocoa powder. I used Penzey's Dutch-processed cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large to extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips, I used ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x9" or 9x13" baking pan. Spray with cooking spray and/or line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to come up over the sides of the pan. You can remove the brownies out of the pan by lifting up on the paper.
  2. In a microwave-proof bowl, combine butter and ½ cup chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well and microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir well.
  3. Add cocoa powder and instant coffee and stir.
  4. Add granulated and brown sugars and stir until completely combined.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. (You'll notice the batter will lighten and thicken the more the eggs and batter are mixed together.)
  6. Add vanilla. Stir
  7. Sprinkle salt over batter. Add flour. Stir again.
  8. Spread batter into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Remove and bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out fudgy, but not wet.
  9. Allow to cool before serving.
Notes
Using a 9x9" baking pan? Bake 35-40 minutes.
Using a 9x13" pan? Bake 16-18 minutes.
My 9x9" batch took a little longer to bake - 45 minutes or so. Keep an eye on yours close to the end of baking time. If you have to bake a little longer, no problem. But there's nothing worse than a burnt batch of lovely brownies!
Yield depends on the size you cut your brownies.

 

Easy Apple Pie Cheesecake

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Do you love apple pie? Do you love cheesecake?
Planning holiday dessert menus and want a little of both? Looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie?
Problem solved!
Combine your two favorites into one Apple Pie Cheesecake!

I found this brilliant recipe for Apple Pie Cheesecake at Tasty in Kathryn Aubin’s feature 4 Pies to Bake With Your BFFJust like any cheesecake, this takes some time to bake, but that’s it. The remainder of the process is easy, easy, easy. Seriously – a no-brainer easy. Apple Pie Cheesecake can be made the day before serving and kept cold in the refrigerator. In fact, it should be made the day before to allow the cheesecake to cool and set.

I strayed from Kathryn’s recipe only by omitting the nutmeg in the apple topping and using puff pastry for the top lattice rather than pie crust. I mean, who doesn’t love the puffy, buttery, lightness of puff pastry? I did sprinkle demerara sugar on top of the puff pastry after the egg wash. Demerara has big crystals and gives the crust a nice little crunch. I get lots of compliments every time I use demerara on pies, cookies or bars,  If you play your cards right and your family insists on tradition, make the cheesecake with puff pastry topping and use the other pie crust for a pumpkin pie or any other single crust pie.

Oh, did I mention the crust is made from one refrigerated pie crust you will find in any grocery store’s refrigerator section? One of my college roommates bakes professionally. She makes lots of pies and uses refrigerated store-bought pie crust because it’s made with lard, not shortening or butter. Anyone who’s baked pies for a while understands the value of lard in pie crust dough. Lard makes the pastry tender, lighter and flakier. My mother and grandmother could whip up a lard pie crust in the blink of an eye. I’ve done that, too, not as fast as my predecessors I might add, but I prefer using 1/2 lard and 1/2 vegetable shortening. I find the dough to be more manageable that way.

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Forgive me, I did not take pictures of the springform pan or of mixing the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, etc. But here’s a pic of the apples simmering in water, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Can it get any better than that? Wait – read the recipe.

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Shall we bake an Apple Pie Cheesecake? YES!

 

 

at mimi's table apple pie cheesecake 1

Easy Apple Pie Cheesecake
 
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I found this brilliant recipe for Apple Pie Cheesecake at Tasty in Kathryn Aubin's feature 4 Pies to Bake With Your BFF. Just like any cheesecake, this takes some time to bake, but that's it. The remainder of the process is easy, easy, easy. Seriously - a no-brainer easy. Apple Pie Cheesecake can be made the day before serving and kept cold in the refrigerator. In fact, it should be made the day before to allow the cheesecake to cool and set.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust, premade refrigerated or homemade for a 9" pan
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 3-8oz bars cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated (It's so much better! Get whole nutmegs and a Microplane)
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon, if desired
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, large to jumbo, room temperature
  • 3-4 medium sized apples, peeled and chopped into ½" pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg for eggs wash plus 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon demerara sugar, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
  2. Line a 10" springform pan with one pie crust. Press along the bottom and sides. Halfway up the sides of the pan is fine.
  3. In the large bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix all the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  4. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest if using, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until well blended.
  5. Add eggs one at a time until well blended.
  6. Pour cheese mixture into springform pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Afterward, turn oven off but let cheesecake sit in oven in the oven for another hour.
  7. Apple Topping
  8. While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the apple topping.
  9. Peel and dice 3-4 medium size apples.into a medium only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="125" data-gr-id="125">bowl I used gala apples. Dribble lemon juice from half a lemon over apples. Set aside.
  10. In a large skillet over medium heat, add sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and water over medium-low heat. Stir to incorporate.
  11. Once simmering, add apples. Stir until apples are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1 Tablespoon butter and let cool.
  12. Once the cheesecake has baked, remove to a cooling rack. Increase oven temperature to 425F degrees.
  13. Pour apple mixture over the cheesecake.
  14. Cut thawed puff pastry into strips and weave over the top of the apple mixture.
  15. Brush with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water)
  16. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons demerara sugar, if using.
  17. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown
  18. Chill and serve
Notes
This is a great holiday cheesecake! Bake the day before serving and chill well in your refrigerator. Top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream or how about cinnamon ice cream.

Variations: Add ½ cup minced pecans to the cheesecake batter before baking. Or top with salted caramel sauce. YUM!

 

Patriotic Red, White and Blue Jello Bars

When my kids were growing up, we always made this fun dessert for 4th of July. I hadn’t made it for a while. But, now that I have a whole gaggle of new boys to spoil, it was time to retrieve my tried and true recipe.

There’s a sweet and crunchy graham cracker crust topped and layered with red, white and blue jello that’s mixed with canned fruit pie filling and a yummy lemony cream cheese layer in the middle. Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Jello Bars are an easy treat that’s quickly assembled. Cold and creamy, it’s the perfect end to any summer barbeque. I assemble the crust and jello layers in a 9″x13″ pan. This feeds a lot of folks – perfect for a family and friends get together.

I like to slice the jello into squares so everyone can see the layers. But, this year, my son-in-law scooped it up and served the dessert in old-fashioned soda glasses topped with whipped cream. Awesome! And the boys LOVED it! Don’t wait for another 4th of July holiday. Whip this up anytime you’re in the mood for a quick, cool, no-bake dessert.

Let’s make up a panful, shall we? 

Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Jello Bars
 
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Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Jello Bars is a scrumptious, crunchy sweet dessert suitable for any summer treat. No baking required. It's quickly assembled, feeds plenty, and is a sure hit for any summertime gathering.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12-16 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers made into crumbs in a Cuisinart, or substitute 2 cups of ground graham crackers
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Blue Layer:
  • 1 3oz package of blueberry or blackberry jello
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • White Layer:
  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup whipped cream or Cool Whip
  • 1 3oz package lemon jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Red Layer:
  • 1 3oz package cherry jello
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 cup boiling water
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, crumble one sleeve graham crackers. Add 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar. Whirl until combined. Add 6 Tablespoons melted butter. Whirl until combined. Pat graham cracker crust into the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Chill in refrigerator while making the next layer.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the package of blueberry or blackberry jello. Pour in one cup of boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add one can blueberry or blackberry pie filling. Mix until combined. Remove graham cracker crust from refrigerator. Pour the blue mixture evenly over the top of the crust. Return to refrigerator until set - 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, cream softened cream cheese with a hand mixer until soft. Add package of lemon jello and one cup boiling water. Whisk or use hand mixer to completely incorporate. Add one cup whipped cream or Cool Whip. Mix until combined. Pour over the cold and set blueberry/blackberry layer. Return to the refrigerator until set - 15-20 minutes.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, add the package of cherry jello. Add one cup boiling water. Whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Add canned cherry pie filling and stir until combined. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the cherry mixture evenly over the lemon layer. Cover with plastic wrap and return to refrigerator for 1-2 hours until all layers are set.
  5. At service, spread whipped cream or Cool Whip over the entire surface. Cut into squares or bars.
Notes
The jello dessert can be scooped up into a bowl or glass and topped with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

 

Macrina Bakery Lemon Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

at mimi's table macrina bakery logo seattle washington

Macrina Bakery’s Lemon Sour Cherry Coffee Cake is one of the best cake recipes in my arsenal. The Macrina Bakery is in Seattle. I’ve not been there, but it is a well-loved bakery in the area. You know, like the Magnolia Bakery in New York. I’ve never been there either, but have their cookbook.

The original Macrina cake was presented upside down. The round edges of the bundt were hitting the plate, which made for a flat top. The glaze was poured over and pooled on top and dripped down the sides. Then garnished with rehydrated dried sour cherries on top. Lovely, very lovely.

However, I like my bundt cakes right side up. It’s easier to cut that way, right, but a fabulous presentation is theirs. I’ve also baked the cake in two large loaf pans, so we can eat one and freeze the other. I’ve taken this cake in its various forms everywhere. Ladies bridge (lame, but that’s the kind of Mimi I am), church pitch-ins, family gatherings – it’s perfect – loads of compliments!

at mimi's table macrina bakery lemon sour cherry coffee cake 1 seattle washington

This recipe makes a large batter. It fit perfectly in my 10-cup bundt pan but would work in a 12-cup pan, too. And little mini bundts or mini loaves – another idea for individual service – so cute!

at mimi's table 10 cup nordic ware party bundt cake pan

Talk about CUTE! Take a look at this Nordic Ware Party Bundt pan. My lovely friend Beth and I talked about how much I coveted this bundt pan. Perfect slices. No more straddling between peaks and valleys in a traditional bundt. Then, for crying out loud, she gifted it to me at Christmas. It is perfect. Thanks, Beth!

Why do I love this recipe? It has lots of lemony flavor. Anything with sour cherries and lemon is a win-win in my book. And Greek yogurt is used in the recipe instead of sour cream. Yogurt can be used as a substitute for any recipe that calls for sour cream. Did you know that? I do substitute often to help cut down on fat in lots of different recipes, sweet and savory. But, I mean, it’s cake. The recipe calls for a cup of butter in addition to yogurt. Why am I cutting down on fat? I don’t know. It makes me feel righteous, I guess, and somehow health conscious. Whatever …

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Isn’t this beautiful out of the pan? If you try this cake recipe, I’d love to hear your comments.

Shall we make a beautiful lemony-cherry cake?
I think so.

Macrina Bakery Lemon Sour Cherry Coffee Cake
 
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Macrina Bakery's Lemon Sour Cherry Coffee Cake is one of the best cake recipes in my arsenal. Perfectly moist with a balanced taste of lemon and sour cherry, this cake will become one of your favorites.
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 slices
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 1½ cups dried tart cherries. I used dried Montmorency cherries from Trader Joe's.
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • For the Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Instructions
  1. DIRECTIONS
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. Spray a 10-12-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Place the dried cherries in a medium bowl and cover with hot tap water.
  5. Let the cherries soak for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly and pat dry between two
  6. sheets of paper toweling; set aside.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; whisk and set aside.
  8. Combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  9. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture
  10. becomes smooth and pale in color.
  11. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding
  12. another.
  13. After all the eggs have been incorporated into the batter, slowly add the lemon juice, and mix for 1 more minute.
  14. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for 30 more seconds.
  15. Remove the bowl from the mixer and alternately add small amounts of the flour mixture and the yogurt to the batter, mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
  16. Set aside 10 – 12 cherries for garnish, then gently fold the remaining cherries into the batter. be careful not to overmix.
  17. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, filling two-thirds of the pan.
  18. Bake on center rack of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
  19. Check the center of the cake with a skewer; if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  20. Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
  21. Invert the pan to remove the cake, and let it cool completely.
  22. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl; add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  23. Mix with a spoon until smooth, then drizzle over the cooled coffee cake.
  24. Top with the reserved plump cherries.
Notes
Macrina Bakery gets all the credit for this recipe. I added 1 teaspoon lemon extract, but the rest is theirs. Please read about the Macrina Bakery and visit their website. Enjoy!

 

Quick Blueberry Slab Pie

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I adore any sort of pie. Sweet or savory, it makes no difference. And I love blueberries.

My mother made the best pie crust for 60 years. For a two-crust 9″ pie it was 2 cups flour, 2/3 Crisco, 2 teaspoons sugar, pinch of salt, and 4-6 Tablespoons ice water. That was it! I made her crust for years until I got my Cuisinart and read online that all butter was a better way to go.

Phooey! I over mixed in the food processor. Beside the fact that butter is  more expensive, I didn’t care for the flavor of a butter crust. I know! Right? What’s wrong with me?

Lard makes everything better, especially pie crust. So I’ve settled on a new mix: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cold lard, 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, 1 Tablespoon sugar, pinch of salt, and 5-7 Tablespoons ice water.

at mimi's table blueberry slab pie 7

My kids and grandchildren were coming over for dinner Sunday. I always make dessert for a Sunday meal, particularly because the boys were coming. I love to spoil them!

I decided a slab pie would do the trick! Sweeten us up and leftovers! I wasn’t in the mood to make pie crust, and I’d have to make a lot for such a big pie. Alas, I reverted to refrigerated store bought pie crust. And fresh blueberries – how simple and quick is that. Just rinse ’em off and they’re ready to be baked up into a scrumptious pie!

AMT Here's a tip icon
Here’s a tip!

If you decide to make this delicious slab pie or any slab pie, you’ll need two boxes of refrigerated pie crust. When you roll it out, place one circle on top of the other, and then roll it into a rectangle. And do the same for the top crust.

It was the perfect size. More than enough to drape over the sides of a jelly roll pan (15″x10″), and to crimp the edges.

A college roommate of mine bakes pies and desserts for her restaurant. She told me that store bought crusts are made with lard. Wow! That does make a difference. The finished crust is flaky and browns beautifully.

Admittedly, over the years I developed into a pie crust snob, believing homemade ones were the only way to go. After all, Mom did it all her adult life. I’ve had to rethink my attitude about refrigerated store bought pie crust. Think of it this way – I will bake more pies! Yes!!

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Let’s Bake!

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Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Roll the bottom crust and place it in a 15″x10″ jelly roll pan.

Put 2-3 pounds of fresh blueberries in a bowl. Add zest of one lemon – blueberries and lemon are remarkable. Mix and set aside.

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In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 Tablespoons flour (or cornstarch or tapioca flour – I use tapioca to thicken fruit pies.) Mix and pour over the blueberries. Gently mix until all the berries are coated with the flour mixture.

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Pour the berry mixture into the crust. Really, I could have used 3 pounds of berries and will next time.

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Roll the top crust and place over the filling and edges of the pan. Crimp along the outside. And, using a sharp paring knife, cut vents along the sides of the top crust. And cut something cute in the middle -I designed an “M” for Mimi!

Brush the top with a beaten egg. I sprinkled demerara sugar on top. You can use regular sugar, but I like the color and texture of demerara on flaky pastry desserts. It also adds a little crunch.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the berry juices bubble and the crust is golden, brown, and delicious.

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I mean, seriously, in 20 minutes my slab pie was in the oven. Remarkable!

Try your hand at one. Don’t like blueberries, use sour pie cherries or apples, make a lemon meringue slab pie or how about strawberry-rhubarb? Yum!

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At Mimi's Tablelessons from an older and wiser girl