Jalapeño Cheddar Crackers

Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers | Pinky's Pantry
I saw Ina Garten make these crackers on Food TV and they looked so good that I just had to try them. I decided to make them for our next movie night. They were sort of a cross between a cracker and a savory shortbread. Delicious with a chilled glass of crisp, white wine. I think they’ll also make a great accompaniment to the cocktails at our next cocktail party. Yummm….. Definitely a keeper!

JALAPEÑO CHEDDAR CRACKERS

  • 2 cups all-­purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. baking powder
  • 1¾ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-­inch cubes
  • 5 ozs. extra ­sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. minced and seeded jalapeño pepper
  • ¼ tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk, for egg wash
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt
  1. Place the flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the cheese, jalapeño, and chipotle chili powder and pulse again.
  4. Add the ice water all at once and continue pulsing until the mixture begins to form a ball.
  5. Dump the dough onto a floured board, gather and press it into a ball, then roll it into a 14­-inch log.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  8. Cut the dough in 3/8-­inch ­thick slices.
  9. Place the crackers on the prepared sheet pan, brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Advertisements

Blueberry Lemon Bread

Blueberry Lemon Bread | Pinky's Pantry
I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.

Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
Blueberry Lemon Bread | Pinky's Pantry

BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
  3. Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  5. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Gently fold blueberries into batter.
  7. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
  9. Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
  10. Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
  11. Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.

NOTE:  My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.

A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.

Americanized Bibingka

Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
Living in the United States, we don’t always have easy access to Filipino food. I guess it depends on where in the U.S. you live. Unfortunately, where I live, if you want Filipino food, you need to make it yourself. There have been times when I’ve really been craving some native food from back home. This recipe was born from one of those cravings.

Filipino bibingka galapong is a native cake made of rice flour that’s cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. As strange as it sounds, the sweet little cakes are dotted with pieces of quesong puti (carabao milk cheese) and wedges of itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). Growing up, the best bibingkahan to get hot, fresh-made bibingka was a place called Ferino’s. It was started in 1938 by a man and his wife who made their bibingkas on three clay pots set on a bench. From there, the business grew till they eventually had shops all over town.

Anyway, I was craving the taste of Ferino’s bibingka one day. Since I don’t have a clay pot or banana leaves, and since we can’t get quesong puti or itlog na maalat where we live, I came up with this recipe which I called “Americanized Bibingka” because I baked it in a pyrex glass baking dish in the oven, and I substituted American ingredients for the native Filipino ingredients I couldn’t get – cream cheese for the quesong puti and dried shredded coconut for the itlog na maalat. It’s not Ferino’s, but it’s a really good substitute.

This recipe makes a big pyrex dish so it’s perfect for parties or get-togethers. Don’t expect it to look anything like traditional native Filipino bibingka galapong. Just follow the recipe and you’ll get a good taste of what bibingka is like, albeit without the look. Everybody loves it, including all our American friends.

AMERICANIZED BIBINGKA GALAPONG

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 box (8-oz.) cream cheese
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded, sweetened, desiccated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar and water.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 9” x 13” pyrex glass baking dish.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt and stir together the butter and cream cheese. The cream cheese mixture will be separated and lumpy. It looks weird, but don’t worry. This is normal.
    Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture as evenly as you can over the cake batter. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfectly even. You can’t.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cake from oven and top with shredded coconut (as much as you want).
  8. Return cake to the oven and broil till the coconut flakes turn golden brown.

NOTE:  If you can’t get self-rising flour, you can make your own by mixing together:
                4 cups all-purpose flour
                2 Tbsp. double acting baking powder
                2 tsp. salt

Coconut Toast

Coconut Toast | Pinky's Pantry
I read about Coconut Toast on this blog called Laugh With Us Blog. It reminded me of this Filipino coconut dessert we ate all the time growing up. It was called “bukayo.” Bukayo is a native coconut “candy” made by cooking fresh grated coconut and sugar together. One of these days, I’ll have to post a recipe for you guys so you can see what it’s like. Our cusinera (cook) — yes, we had a cook when I was growing up — used to make it for us for an afternoon snack all the time. It’s usually shaped into little balls or little flat patties, but Manang Francisca used to just pile it all into a bowl and we each got to have a tablespoon or two of it. Saved her the work of rolling it into balls, I guess.

Anyway, the coconut in this recipe is prepared a bit differently as it has egg in it, but it reminded me a lot of bukayo. Of course, piling it onto bread takes it up a notch. How clever is that? Then you actually get to eat it with your fingers! No spoon needed. And eat it you will! Esther from Laugh With Us Blog wasn’t kidding when she said this was a must try. OMG! You’ll not only eat it with your fingers, but you’ll lick every little crumb off said fingers, too! It’s that good!

COCONUT TOAST

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 9-12 slices of bread
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and coconut together.
  3. Spread the mixture onto each slice of bread.
  4. Arrange bread on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toast is lightly browned.

NOTE:  The original recipe is supposed to make enough mixture to cover 12 slices of bread. Apparently, we slather it on a lot thicker than that because we only get 9 slices of bread per recipe. LOL! Just spread the mixture on as thickly as you like. You’ll get anywhere from 9 to 12 pieces of toast.

Also, for those of you looking to cut down on your sugar intake, I’ve made this recipe with only 3/4 cup of sugar. It’s just as delicious as it is with the full amount.

Halloween Fondant Ghosts

Fondant Ghost1 | Pinky's Pantry
To add to the treats I was making for the kids this Halloween, I decided to make some fondant ghosts. You can make your own homemade fondant like I did, or buy ready-made fondant. Obviously, homemade marshmallow fondant tastes a hundred times better than the store bought kind, but it can be a pain to make so it’s entirely up to you. The ghost bodies underneath the fondant are made by stacking chocolate candies that you “glue” together with melted chocolate chips. Whether you choose to make your own fondant or buy the ready-made kind, assembling these ghosts is definitely easy and fun to do! They look adorable on your Halloween table, too.

HALLOWEEN FONDANT GHOSTS

  • 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or you can buy ready-made white fondant)
  • 1 bag Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 box Whoppers malted milk balls
  • 2-3 tbsp. chocolate chips, to use as “glue”
  • powdered sugar or cornstarch, for dusting
  • 1 tube of black ready-to-use decorating icing
  1. Heat chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted.
  2. Smear a little melted chocolate on top of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and press a second cup on top of it. This is your ghost’s body.
    Fondant Ghost2 | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Next, smear a little dollop of melted chocolate on a Whopper and press it onto your peanut butter cup stack. This is your ghost’s head.
  4. Knead the fondant till it’s soft and pliable.
  5. Dust work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch.
  6. Pull off a piece of fondant and cover the rest with a damp towel. I like to work with fondant in small batches to keep the big piece of fondant from drying out.
    Fondant Ghost3| Pinky's Pantry
  7. Roll out the piece of fondant you pulled to a little less than a quarter inch thick.
  8. Cut out 4½-inch circles from the fondant.
    Fondant Ghost4 | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Break off another piece of fondant, roll, and cut out more circles.
  10. Repeat till you have the number of circles you need for however many ghosts you’re making.
  11. Drape a fondant circle over a chocolate stack, arranging it so it drapes in nice folds.
    Fondant Ghost5 | Pinky's Pantry
  12. Pipe two eyes with black decorating icing. If desired, you could add an “O” shaped mouth as well.
    Fondant Ghost6 | Pinky's Pantry
  13. These ghosts can be served as is, or use them as cupcake toppers or to decorate a cake.
    Fondant Ghost7 | Pinky's Pantry

Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
I decided to make some marshmallow pops for the kids this Halloween. I’d seen a picture somewhere of cupcakes decorated with a Frankenstein head which gave me the inspiration for these Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops. They were fun to make. Just plan on giving yourself a little time to let the corn syrup dry after you roll the sugar onto the marshmallows and to let the icing dry after you pipe on the hair and faces. If you can start making these a day or two before you want to hand them out, all the better.

Also, having the right piping tips makes easy work of piping Frank’s hair and face. I used a “grass” tip to do the hair and a fine round tip to pipe his eyes and mouth. I also found this bottle of Wilton bug sprinkles at my local grocery store which I thought would be perfect to use for Frank’s bolts. If you can’t find the same bug sprinkles, you can use candy coated licorice which will be just as cute.
Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry

FRANKENSTEIN MARSHMALLOW POPS

  • 1 bag marshmallows
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • green decorating sugar
  • store bought green, black, and red icing
  • Wilton bug sprinkles, for bolts (or could subsitute black candy coated licorice)
  • lollipop sticks
  1. Lightly brush bottom and sides of a marshmallow with corn syrup. No need to brush the top of the marshmallow because it will be covered with icing “hair.”
  2. Press the bottom and roll the sides in green sugar until well coated.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Set aside to dry for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Once dry, stab a lollipop stick into the sugar-coated bottom of each marshmallow.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Cut some green Rips candy into small strips to use for Frankenstein’s brow.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's PantryFrankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  6. Glue the brow to the top of each marshmallow with green icing.
  7. Using a grass piping tip, pipe hair onto the top of each marshmallow by squeezing a little icing out, then stopping and pulling straight up.
  8. Switch to a small round decorating tip and pipe eyes and a mouth with black icing.
  9. Change to red icing and pipe a little scar on Frank’s cheek.
    Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops | Pinky's Pantry
  10. Push a little bug sprinkle into each side of the marshmallow for bolts.

    Bug Sprinkles | Pinky's Pantry

    These are the Wilton bug sprinkles I found that I thought would make perfect “bolts.”

Zucchini Crumble Bars

Zucchini Crumble Bars | Pinky's Pantry
I make these bars a lot during zucchini season. The zucchini is like a “surprise ingredient” that fools everybody. They all think it’s apple and don’t believe me when I tell them it’s zucchini. These bars are delicious, and best of all, are so easy to make. My family loves to eat them warm with a scoop of ice cream. Give them a try and see if they don’t surprise you, too.
Zucchini Crumble Bars | Pinky's Pantry

ZUCCHINI CRUMBLE BARS

For the Filling:

  • 8-10 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4-5 lbs.)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tbsp. cold water (this is called a slurry)
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook zucchini, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring occasionally until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. While stirring constantly, pour in slurry (cornstarch water mixture). It is important to keep stirring as the slurry will thicken the mixture very quickly.
  3. Continue to cook and stir, 1-2 minutes more, until mixture is thick and glossy.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Crust:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cold butter, cut in cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Set aside about 3 cups of the crust mixture for topping.
  5. Press remaining crust mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan.
  6. Pour zucchini mixture over crust, spreading evenly to edges.
  7. Crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini mixture.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Snickerdoodle Muffins | Pinky's Pantry
I haven’t made these muffins in a long time. I don’t really know why. Maybe because my kids are grown up now? But when they were younger, I made these muffins a lot. The kids really loved them. They’re great for breakfast, brunch, or an after school snack. They’re also great packed for dessert in a school lunchbox. I love them warm with an ice cold glass of milk. Mmmmm………

SNICKERDOODLE MUFFINS

  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • extra melted butter for topping
  1. Mix flour, oats, and ¾ cup sugar together.
  2. In another bowl, mix egg, butter, vanilla, and milk together.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Fill 12 muffin cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake at 400ºF for 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
  6. While muffins are baking, mix ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon together for topping.
  7. When muffins are done, brush tops with a little melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar topping mixture.

Dulce de Leche Bars

Dulce de Leche Squares | Pinky's Pantry
I love dulce de leche. It’s so delicious, I can eat it by the spoonful! I thought it would be fun to make some kind of bars with dulce de leche in them. So I made up this recipe with a blondie base and ready-made dulce de leche. It turned out great! The kids loved them. I’ll definitely be making these again!
Dulce de Leche Squares | Pinky's Pantry

DULCE DE LECHE BARS

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 can (13.4 ozs.) dulce de leche (or you can make your own)
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk (can substitute fresh milk)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil and grease foil lightly.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, melt butter in microwave.
  4. To melted butter, add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and nuts, stirring to combine.
  5.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing together well. Batter will be thick.
  6. Reserve 1 cup of the batter and set aside.
  7. Spread remaining batter into prepared pan. It will seem like you don’t have enough batter to completely cover the bottom of the pan, but just do your best, spreading as thinly as you need to.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. While bottom crust is baking, empty dulce de leche into a bowl and add milk.
  10. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds, until dulce de leche is completely combined with milk and is soft and pourable.
  11. Remove cooked crust from oven and pour dulce de leche over crust, spreading to within ¼-inch of edges.
  12. Drop spoonfuls of reserved 1 cup batter randomly over dulce de leche layer.
  13. Cut through batter and dulce with a knife to create a marbled effect.
  14. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until set.
  15. Cool on wire rack, then lift foil from pan to remove.
  16. Cut into bars or squares.

Yogurt Cake

Yogurt Cake | Pinky's PantryI’ve been making this cake for years. It’s so good and easy to prepare. It always turns out moist and flavorful. I also love its versatility. If you don’t have margarine or butter, you could substitute butter-flavored Crisco shortening, or even use cooking oil if you’re really desperate. You could bake it in a loaf pan instead of a bundt pan if you want a more traditional “butter cake” look. I like to make small loaves of this cake (as pictured below) to give to my neighbors during the holidays.
Yogurt Cake | Pinky's Pantry
You could also exchange the flavorings and use lemon extract and lemon yogurt to make a delicious lemon cake that goes great with a nice cup of hot tea. Hmmm……. I wonder….. what if we tried orange extract and orange yogurt, or strawberry extract and strawberry yogurt, or almond extract and plain yogurt?….. The possibilities are endless, don’t you think?

YOGURT CAKE

  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 8-oz. container vanilla yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Alternately beat in flour mixture and yogurt until just incorporated. Do not over mix. It’s okay if batter is still lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  8. Carefully flip cake over and let cool completely.