Jeanne Ambrose and Lindsey Ambrose are a mother-daughter seasoned food-writing team who, between 'em, have done a lot of eating around.
     Jeanne creates, edits, and writes food, nutrition, and health features. Lindsey is a small-space gardener extraordinaire with a penchant for cooking fresh and local. She goes for full-flavored, somewhat-spicy cuisine with a flair for ethnic-fusion feasts. Read More >>


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Easy Cranberry Cake Pie

cranberry cake

 

If you have a stash of fresh (or frozen) cranberries, here’s what you do. Pour a couple of cups of cranberries into the bottom of a buttered pie tin (or 9-inch round cake pan), sprinkle with sugar, add walnuts if you like and whip up a buttery cake batter to pour on top. Bake. Cool. Share.

I can’t take credit for this recipe. It’s got history. And it’s everywhere. I made so many for Christmas gifts one year that I memorized the recipe. It’s that easy.

There’s a version called Nantucket Cranberry Pie in an old cookbook called “More Home Cooking” by the late Laurie Colwin (many credit her for the recipe). The King Arthur Flour site calls it Nantucket Cranberry Cake. Ina Garten does a variation with apples and brown sugar and sour cream and calls it Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake.

Next time I might add a little orange peel and cinnamon to the batter. I might even add a simple icing drizzle on top. (You know: confectioners sugar plus milk).

For Christmas gifts I bake them in foil pie plates and add a note that says they freeze easily (in case the recipient wants to save them for New Year’s eve!)

They’re great served at brunch. Or as dessert with a bourbon-laced whipped cream. Or whenever the spirit moves you.

Easy Cranberry Cake Pie

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put 2 cups cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Top with 1/2 cup sugar.
2. Combine 2 eggs; 3/4 cup butter, melted; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup flour1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake  for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Best Ever Irish Stout Chocolate Cupcakes

Photo by Richard Swearinger

Photo by Richard Swearinger

 

St. Patrick would be proud. It’s easy to dive face first into these chocolate cupcakes flavored up with Irish stout. You only need 1/2 cup or so to make this Double Chocolate Stout Cupcake recipe. We like to use chocolate stout, but any old stout will do. (You know what to do with the remaining stout, right? Slàinte!)

Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate stout

1/2 cup butter (unsalted, please. If you’re using salted butter, ditch the salt, above)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 ounces dark unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, or semisweet dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 slightly beaten eggs

Dark Chocolate Frosting (next page)

Coarse sea salt

12 bite-size pretzels

1. Preheat the oven to 350* F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside. Stir together flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout, butter, and cocoa just to simmer; stirring frequently. Add dark chocolate, stirring until melted. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Whisk in eggs until combined. Add flour mixture, beating until smooth.

3. Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Or just tap the top of the cupcake with your finger.  It should bounce back.) Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove cupcakes from muffin pan and cool completely on rack.

4. Pipe or frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting (below). Sprinkle coarse salt over each cupcake. Top with a pretzel. (Or skip the salt and crush the pretzels and sprinkle on top.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Makes enough to cover 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or 4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped)

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

¼ cup milk (add a splash of Irish cream, if you’d like to be more decadent)

1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and chocolate over very low heat until butter and chocolate are melted, stirring constantly.

2. In a bowl, stir together powdered sugar and milk. Add melted butter and chocolate. Beat by hand until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Frosting will thicken as it cools. Stir in additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if frosting is too thick.