Catering by Linda

Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

What Makes Everything Better?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014


Like a mother’s kiss on her child’s boo-boo, some things just make other things magically better. I could end this post right here with a few “magical” ingredients that make everything better. The list would include Whipped Cream, Raspberries, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Butter, and Bacon for starters. These are some of the Foods that I hold in such high regard that I simply must capitalize them. Jack reveres Bacon so intensely, he wants me to list it twice, so here goes: Bacon. And when you put two of these ingredients together in the same food (think chocolate-covered bacon, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and raspberry croissants), it’s almost too much goodness in one bite, if there is such a thing. The sweet-salty crunch of chocolate-covered pretzels and the happy marriage of sweet cream and dark chocolate on a sundae makes one’s tastebuds sing. It’s why, when we pour syrup on our pancakes, we pour some (by accident, of course) on our bacon, too. It’s why, when we are given a canister of Chex Mix or a baggie of Trail Mix, we pick out the pretzel-peanut combination or have to pair an M&M with a Honey Nut Cheerio in every bite. And it’s why, when I made chocolate-covered fruit for my church’s coffee hour a year ago, my friend, Richard, took a bite of chocolate-covered pineapple, and remarked, “My mouth doesn’t even know what to make of this!”

The above picture is one of my favorite desserts: Home-made Gingerbread Cake with Raspberry Topping. The combination that stems from the deep, cinnamon-y, wholesomeness of Grandma’s traditional gingerbread, and the sweet zing of flavor from the newer, raspberry twist makes this dessert one that needs capitalization.

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts, recipes and meal ideas, tips | 4 Comments »

Bringing in the New Year with Poached Pears

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy New Year!  Our family brought in the new year with great friends and a fabulous dessert that won raves!  (Look for it on my catering menu!)  For the little work that they took, these pears produced a huge “wow factor.”  The pears were brilliant red and had white mascarpone filling peeking through below the top/stem.  They were yummy, comforting, and fancy all at the same time, and I loved how I could make them in advance.  Do-ahead recipes allow hosts to spend more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen.  This recipe fits the bill, as the pears are best when they are poached a day ahead and left to absorb the sauce overnight.  The day of the party, you can core the pears, pipe in the filling, and plate for service later.  No fuss, no muss, and lots of guests saying, “Wow!  Mmmm!  Can I have the recipe?”  Well, thanks for asking, and yes, you can: Poached Pears.

Posted in "the biz", desserts, holidays, recipes and meal ideas, tips | No Comments »

Whoopie Pies

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Legend has it that Whoopie Pies were given their name by the people who shouted, “WHOOPIE!” when they ate one.  Whether fact or fiction, I can understand where the story comes from.  The combination of rich chocolate and fluffy cream is reason to celebrate and yell whatever you want (“Give me another one!”)  In the search for the most amazing combination of outside and inside, I have been playing and tweaking recipes, and I am pretty close to perfection.  There are some people that like a frosting-type filling, while others like a marshmallow-type inside.  When I stacked the cooled whoopie pies on a plate, Alli came through the kitchen and took the whole platter with her.  It wasn’t until I caught her, sneaking through the dining room, that I decided her punishment would be to have to pose with them.  They are easy to pack for lunches, and freeze well (like there are ever “extras” that I can freeze!).  I also like individual desserts like these because, like cupcakes, a person can eat the whole thing and not have to share with anyone.  It’s like “portion-control” for “dessert-aholics.”   Whoopie!

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts | 2 Comments »

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

My Mom turned 81 on Monday, October 4th, and my family gathered at the Cape this weekend to celebrate her birthday.  A few months ago, Mom had sent me the recipe for a Baumkuchen.  It was her mother’s favorite cake when they lived in Germany.  They moved here when she was 8 so she couldn’t remember how it tasted, but only that it was a special bakery treat for her mother.  When I researched recipes for the cake, as well as the method for making it, I learned that it is made in a special oven with a special rotisserie bar, where the baker would literally paint on the batter layer after layer.  When one thin layer had baked, another layer would be added.  Only the best of bakers were given the job of adding layers, since it was a hot, tedious job, and if it was not done correctly, the cake would be overdone and dry, or raw in the middle.  When a slice of cake was served, the diner would see rings of cake much like a cross-section of a tree trunk.  Some baumkuchens were drizzled with rum sauce and others were covered in chocolate (as if there was a choice!).  Most of them were made with almond paste, and some were vanilla.  I didn’t have time to purchase a special oven, so I improvised with small springform pans (only a true foodie would have two mini springforms) and a small Jell-O mold.  I painted a small layer of batter on the bottom of the pan, put it on the bottom rack of the oven using the broiler setting, and after each layer baked, I would pull it out and paint on another layer of batter.  Each of the cakes had about 20 layers, and the Jell-O mold had about 10 layers.  The resulting, 50-layer cake, is shown in the picture!

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts, holidays, recipes and meal ideas | 1 Comment »

Natalie’s B’day!

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

We celebrated Natalie’s birthday a week early, and she requested a Hedgehog Cake.  She had one a few years ago, and it must have made an impression on her, because her request came out of nowhere!  Little did she know, it was a cinch to make!  This cake was made in a Pyrex bowl.  Once the cake cooled, I used my piping bag to pipe on blobs of frosting, and then pulled the bag away to form a tip.  A couple of M&Ms for the nose and the eyes, and a toothpick-sized dot of frosting for the eye center, and we were done!

Many people shy away from making their own frosting because they think it is difficult.  This chocolate frosting recipe is easy, and comes out yummy every time: Whip 2/3 cup butter until smooth.  Add 1 t. vanilla (splurge on the good stuff, not imitation!), 4 c. powdered sugar, and 4 ounces of melted chocolate (again, splurge on the good stuff– it makes a difference!)  Add milk to the correct consistency.. somewhere between 2-4 T.  I wanted this frosting stiff so that it would hold peaks so I added less milk than I would have if I had been frosting cupcakes or a cake.

Bon appetit!

Posted in close to my heart(h), desserts, kitchen "toys", recipes and meal ideas, tips | 1 Comment »

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