Category Archives: Dessert

Cherry Cheese Scones



A rare occurrence, but Kim and I followed this recipe exactly, and guess what? They turned out amazing! Many times, when we’re just cooking for the two of us, we skimp on or swap ingredients, to make it healthier, and the dishes (usually) turn out tasting good, but nothing to rave about. THESE are rave-worthy!

Kim was craving the scones we had while in London, specifically the ones from our hostel cafe, which were fantastically buttery and rich. (with clotted cream and jam!) So she insisted we follow the recipe to see how close our Joy of Cooking got to English scones.

The English, historically and/or traditionally, have something called Afternoon Tea or High Tea (or just Tea, actually) that is served with little biscuits, scones and light sandwiches. We wanted to have a traditional “Afternoon Tea” while there, but they’re quite expensive – cheapest was £19 per person!

Kim had these juicy dried cherries – they were halfway between normal cherries and dried cherries. I’ve never seen that before, but I’m glad I’ve been introduced to them – they’re delicious! Very sweet on their own, but delicious.

Kim and I LOVE to mix sweet and savory, so of course we opted to make cherry cheese scones, so we swapped out the blueberries from the Joy of cooking recipe and added the cherries and cheese, hoping the consistency wasn’t changed too much by the cheese, and nixed the streusel topping. (Okay, I lied, I guess we did change the recipe…) Oh, and we forgot the vanilla extract too, but I think that worked in our favor, with the cheesiness.

Cherry Cheese Scones (altered from this recipe in Joy of Cooking cookbook.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend with flour mixture until it’s crumbly. You can do this with a pastry cutter, grinder, or with your hands (my favorite way!) But we ground in in a grinder this time.

In a second bowl beat the egg, then add the cream. Add to flour mixture and stir/blend until dough comes together. Don’t overmix the cough, or your scones will be tough.

Spray the pan and transfer dough to pan. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times and mold into a flat round shape and cut into eighths, and separate the triangular pieces so each side bakes with a crusty exterior.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. I’d check after 15 minutes though, to see how they’re doing. Scones are best eaten fresh, but they were alright the next day too.

What we thought: DELICIOUS! I raved about them to everyone. I already remade them for co-workers and will make them next week when my friends and I have our own little afternoon tea! Cheers!

I know what a scone is, but what is clotted cream, cumpets, or lemon curd???
A brief history of the scone.
Wait, the English don’t pronounce it scone as in cone?

UPDATE: And speak of the devil (scones), a new YouTube food channel, Sorted, I started watching, literally yesterday, posted scones today! And they look so good, I think I might just have to make them tonight, for dessert!

-Beth


Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding


Kim here.

I invited my brother’s girlfriend, the wonderful Sarah, over to finally bake together! And Beth came home as well! We all love to cook and bake, so honestly, I have no idea why it took this long for this to happen. We made an amazing bread pudding, and I LOVE peanut butter, bananas, bread, and I love them all together in bread pudding. I used the photos of this recipe for my 365 photography challenge. Recipe below.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding


Dark Chocolate & Banana Muffins


UPDATE: I just discovered that Kim and I, here at Fourthbrookstick, have been awarded the Liebster Award from Nicola at Unhip Squirrel! I couldn’t believe it! We’d like to offer other people ideas for new ways of eating and thinking about food and cooking, and it’s great to be recognized for that! Thanks so much Nicola! Make sure to visit her blog too, because she’s got some delicious stuff!

Round up your best recipes, y’all, because now Kim and I must now choose 5 from all your amazing blogs to forward this award to!

And on that note, of unique recipes, here’s a not-so-startlingly unique concept, but delicious never-the-less!

With peanuts. Of course. I was inspired to make this from Caron’s Chocolate Banana Bread recipe at VeganMonster. I’ve been waiting for my bananas to ripen enough to bake with, and when I read Caron’s blog, I’d found a match!

I don’t actually own measuring spoons, so since I’ve moved out of Mom & Dad’s, when I cook, I kind of got in the habit of guesstimating, well, everything. So I was a pleasantly surprised when these muffins turned out a perfect light, moist texture and delicious taste.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup flax seed

1/4 cup oat flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a couple pinches salt

1/2 cup applesauce

2 bananas

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips +/or crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine whole wheat flour, flax seed, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, chocolate chips and peanuts in one bowl.

Mush bananas and combine with applesauce. These, and the dark chocolate, are our sweeteners. Notice there’s no sugar or butter in this recipe. This is an incredibly tasty, “no-guilt”, as they say, muffin. Dark chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate, or even semi-sweet chocolate, has less sugar and cocoa butter (fat), while tasting, in my opinion, far better than milk chocolate.

Slowly add flour mixture to applesauce mixture, folding it into itself.

Spray muffin pan, and fill muffin cups to somewhat overflowing. Bake for about 15 minutes, but check on them after 10.

What I thought: Once these were baked, and I’d taken my photographs, I curled up on the couch and ate these with a cup of coffee and read “Sense & Sensibility.” Perfect. They were perfectly sweet, healthy, and filling.

-Beth


Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pancakes


Though I took photos with my roommate’s camera, I never made the effort to put them on my computer. This was often an issue when I used my sister’s camera for food blog photos. I would forget about the pictures until I wanted to post about them and they’d take up space on her memory cards… Sorry about that.

So, in order to find replacement photos in the meantime, I searched ‘pumpkin peanut butter pancakes’ and found a slew of deliciously suitable replacement photos and many recipes that are now in my bookmarks folder. Look at this. Just look at it.

This was a joint effort between my roommate, Colin, and I. (Though I’m sure both of us have made these pancakes at some point before.) I was telling him that I loved mixing peanut butter and pumpkin together (and eating it like yogurt, yummm!) and he said he’d more likely eat that combo if it were in a pancake.

So I of course I had to make them. I got up a bit earlier the next day to create my masterpiece. I wing’ed the recipe a bit (which is generally my tactic) and they turned out delicious! Moist, rich and somewhat dense (how I like them).

They more or less looked like this:

I followed the Joy of Cooking‘s pancake recipe as the basis, but I used only 1/3 of the sugar and butter the cookbook calls for.

In a bowl mix:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda + 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Cinnamon

In a separate bowl mix:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsn butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • Several gobs of your favorite Peanut Butter. I used Creamy Krema!

And Colin made a delicious sauce of cooked berries. All you have to do for this is dump a cup or two of frozen berries in a saucepan and heat until they’re the liquid consistency that you want, like the photo below.

Though people often toast the pancakes close cousin, the waffle, it never occurred to me to toast a frozen pancake. Colin suggested it for leftovers, and it was, as expected, delicious. (And Colin, if you’re reading this, I left you two frozen ones on the right side of the freezer.)

What I thought:

Delicious! It combines two of my favorite foods, and in a form that’s easy to make and quick to whip up. (Though admittedly, not so quick to cook, going two at a time on a frying pan.) The great things about pancakes is you have the liberty to add, take away or swap many ingredients. Experiment and have fun!

Cheers,

Beth


Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel


Even I’m surprised that the last three entries of this blog are sweet potato recipes! But what can you do? Sweet potatoes are an amazing food, so why stop eating them? This most recent recipe, the strudel, is from a book I bought at borders for only a few dollars. But I probably would have spent more on it. It’s called Savory Baking. I love baked goods. I love the texture of quick breads, I love the variety of recipes, I love eating them with peanut butter and yogurt. I love pulling them out of the oven a couple minutes before the timer is set to go off. I love not waiting for the food to cool and burning my tongue, I love pastries, I love eating the batter. I just love it all.

But, sometimes, I don’t feel like eating cake and sweet muffins all the time. Because it’s not healthy, but also I just don’t feel like eating something sweet every time I feel like baking. That’s exactly the purpose of this book! I picked it up and immediately wanted to buy it, but then I opened the book to the Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel I knew I was doomed. BOTH my favorite fall-time foods in ONE RECIPE and then WRAPPED IN PASTRY DOUGH. Can it get better? Maybe, but it’s so close to perfection why bother trying? I made it the other day and here’s the recipe.

Sweet Potato Cranberry Strudel

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins (calls for golden, but I used the more common darker kind)
1 medium sweet potato
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I only used 1/2 cup, which I thought was too much in the end)
1/2 pound (8 ounces) phyllo pasty, thawed
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces and finely chopped (I believe I used closer to a half cup, but perhaps I just over did it)
coarse sea salt

Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour hot water over them, set aside to plump for 10 minutes, then drain.

Put the chopped sweet potato in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water and cook on high heat until fork-tender. Do the same with carrots (which might take longer). Drain the potatoes and carrots.

Put butter in small saucepan over high heat until it turns at golden-brown color, then pour butter into a small dish and set aside.

Smash together the potatoes and carrots with 6 tablespoons of butter (I think few tablespoons would have tasted better, but that’s just me), and blend in the dried fruit. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Unroll the phyllo dough. While working, you might want to place a slightly damp towel over the yet-unused dough so it doesn’t dry out. Place a layer of dough onto your work baking sheet/work surface, brush butter over it, and sprinkle with your chopped toasted pecans and a little sea salt. Do 7 layers of this. On the last layer, spread the potato and carrot mixture on one of the long edges of the dough. Pack it tightly and roll it closed. Brush with butter and sprinkle with pecans and sea salt.

Place in oven for 25 minutes. When done, cut slowly with a serrated knife with sawing motions, or else your pastry will most definitely flake (still tastes the same, though)

I didn’t even put the proper amount of butter in. I just couldn’t do it. It’s so much butter. SO MUCH. It’s fine if I was only planning on eating a little bit, but I was planning on eating a lot of it, and I didn’t want that much butter. Phyllo dough usually calls for brushed butter in between each layer, so that it’s browned and delicious once baked. I was worried skimping on the butter would create poor results. Some parts of the dough were falling apart when I took it out of the oven, and I think it’s due to the fewer tablespoons of butter slathered in between the phyllo dough layers. But i wasn’t really complaining.

I couldn’t wait for it to come out of the oven, and after hurrying through photographing it (got a lot of blurry photos, unfortunately. Unprofessional? Maybe. Hungry? Very.). I sliced up a peice and ate into it. My first thought was that it was far too buttery than was necessary. I don’t need that much butter. I love butter to enhance foods, but when I’m eating something and I taste “butter” and not “pastry dough”, something is wrong. However, besides that, this recipe was absolutly delicious! I just couldn’t get enough of it! I ate a quarter of it before I felt sick (from the butter). The sweet potato was perfect and the cranberry and raisins added amazing and subtle sweetness. I want to make this again, but perhaps with something besides butter in between the dough. Maybe egg yolk or watered down sweet potato puree? Or if that doesn’t work, I could use a thicker dough to eliminate the need for all the layer of butter. I also might try it with seasonings. I’m surprised it didn’t have any! It was delcious as it, though.

This recipe is great for a holiday party or family gathering. I think everybody will love it.


Sweet Potato Banana Mexican ‘Cake’


Yet another way to combine several heavenly foods. This recipe originated from this recipe, Mexican Banana Cake, which is more of a dessert, whereas Kim and I turned this into a breakfast _____. I don’t really know what to call it. I guess it’s still a cake – we only lessened the sugar and butter, which, in addition to an egg, are the only other ingredients anyway!

If following the linked recipe, know that Kim and I are equally confused about the recipe calling for milk, but then never instructing you to put it in the mixture. We nixed it and it turned out great!

Makes enough for 2 people:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp softened butter
  • 2Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Suggestions for dressing/frosting: We mixed Chobani Plain greek yogurt with Krema natural creamy peanut butter and that was our (delicious!) ‘frosting.’ If that’s not sweet or tasty enough, add cinnamon, honey, apple butter, things like that! The original recipe calls for jam, so I’m sure that’s delicious too.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Take butter out of fridge to soften at room temperature, or soften it in microwave for 10-ish seconds. Peel and cut up sweet potato and bananas and boil until sweet potatoes are soft. With a blender, blend egg and sugar together until it’s a light and fluffy cream. In a separate bowl, blend butter, vanilla extract, sweet potatoes and bananas together. Then mix egg/sugar mixture into sweet potato/banana mixture.

Spray two ramekin bowls. Pour mixture into bowls and place in oven. Bake for approx. 30 minutes. We checked on ours every 10 minutes.


Happee Birthdae Jo and Harry!


We can’t just make a yellow cake. In order to celebrate two of our favorite beings of all time – JK Rowling and Harry Potter – Kim and I made them a birthday cake! (Us and two thirds of all other Harry Potter fans, most likely).

Happy Birthday Jo and Harry!

 

We made the one that Hagrid gives Harry in the first movie:

Film version of the cake

And here’s ours:

Harry Potter and JK Rowling Birthday cake

Our version of the cake

I say it looks pretty darn good! It didn’t taste bad either, though I will admit I messed it up (I’m honestly losing faith in my cooking ability, following in the footsteps of some of my friends…) I added 1 cup less flour than needed. Whoops. It was still good though; it wasn’t as spongy, but more moist and crystalized, due to the more concentrated amount of sugar.

Here’s the FULL recipe:

Harry Potter and JK Rowling Birthday cake

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups milk

The frosting was a cream cheese based, but we added a banana, which is what those odd chunks are…. We didn’t add sugar to the frosting, to offset the concentrated sugar in the cake. Kim and I thought it balanced nicely.

Happee Birthdae frosting

Banana Cream Cheese frosting

  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 banana (ripe is better)
  • 4 tbspn butter
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • We put in red dye to make it pink – just a drop or two will do it.
Harry Potter and JK Rowling Birthday cake

Kim’s note: This cake was supposed to be a normal yellow cake. I wanted to make the perfect ordinary cake. I feel it is important to master the basics. Well, as Beth mentioned above, one cup flour was accidentally left out. And as we were making the frosting, I had the idea to spread a puréed banana in between the two cake layers, which ultimately led Beth to say, “We can’t just make a yellow cake”. Someday, perhaps, I will.