Food Hero

Pfeffernusse (Pepper Nuts) by Rachelle
December 13, 2009, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags:

Pfeffernuess is German for “pepper nuts” and is a classic spicy holiday treat. This is my mother-in-law’s cookie recipe, and my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie. We made two huge gallon-sized ziploc bags this year, and they are already almost gone. This German version is anise flavored, but the Danish pebernodder (literally “pepper nuts) are made with black or white pepper.

1 c white corn syrup
1 c dark corn syrup
2 c white sugar
1 c butter, melted
2 c sour cream
1/4 tsp anise oil
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
8-10 c flour (or more)

 Put ingredients together in a very large bowl. Stir well after first 5 ingredients. Then add remaining ingredients. Add enough flour until dough is quite thick, but not overly dry. (I usually end up using all 10 cups.) Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Just a couple hours is not enough chill time for this recipe.) Roll out onto a very well floured board into thin 1/2 inch diameter snakes. Cut into small pieces. To prevent sticking, lightly shake the cookies in your well floured hands. Lay them out on cookie sheets, not touching. Bake 12-15 min at 375 degrees.

These cookies are meant to be quite crisp, almost like biscotti. But I also enjoy them made slightly large and cooked to a softer consistency. Paul says “drink them with Market Spice tea!”


Chocolate Skillet Cake with Pears and Walnuts by Rachelle

This is my favorite desert for Rosh Hashanah, which I’ve written about at BlogHer this week. It’s not a traditional Jewish dish, just something this goyim girl does for the season. Enjoy some fall goodness!

¼ c butter
¼ c brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 sliced pears
¼ c chopped walnuts

 Melt the butter, brown sugar, and honey in an oven-proof cast-iron skillet. Arrange pears in concentric circles on the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle walnuts evenly across the skillet.

1/3 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 squares (1oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1  1/4c flour
2/3 c milk

 Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time. Stir in chocolate, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually alternate adding milk and flour. Pour mixture over pears in skillet. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter.

Wonderful warm with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Cookie Classics: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal by Rachelle
May 23, 2009, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , ,



Chewy, delicious oatmeal chocolate chippers on a handmade napkin.

Chewy, delicious oatmeal chocolate chippers on a handmade napkin.

Suzie the Foodie sent out a Tweet a couple weeks ago about it being time to bake cookies. Seeing as almost the only thing I contribute to this site is baking recipes, I of course immediately jumped on the bandwagon.

Foodimentary said it was National Oatmeal Cookie Day on April 30th so that’s what I cooked up. I’m just now getting the recipe up, but my, my, my it is a keepers.

This recipe came from my pal Heidi Flaming-Buschman. (I know, that’s a freaking AWESOME last name, right?!) The only changes I’ve made is to swap out the shortening for all-butter, and since I can’t get chocolate chips here in Denmark, I chop up a big bittersweet chocolate bar.

On the purple recipe card Heidi gave me as at Christmas a decade ago, under serving size it says, “Makes a large amount.” Use your biggest mixing bowl because it really does make a ton. Have yum!

Heidi and Monte Flaming-Buschman’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
4 c oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla. Then add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 375 degree oven. Makes a large amount.

Chocolate “Thunder” Cake by Rachelle
March 3, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: ,



I know, it looks so yummy, right? This is Thundercake, baked by myself and my darling 8 year old daughter, Cate. This recipe comes from the book Thundercake, a beautifully illustrated story by Patricia Polacco about a Russian grandmother and her grandaughter learning to stave off thunder-fears by keeping busy in the kitchen.

The cake is slightly dense and nicely moist, and keeps well for a few days. (If it lasts that long!) In the book the cake is topped with chocolate icing and strawberries. We opted for a the frosting and coconut. The frosting was just from a standard cookbook…Betty Crocker’s basic frosting I believe. Have Yum!

Chocolate Thundercake

Cream together, one at a time
1 c shortening
1  3/4 c sugar
3 egg yolks (save the whites)
1 c cold water
1/3 c pureed tomatoes

In a separate bowl:
beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Fold into creamed mixture.

Sift together:
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I used regular, it worked fine)
1/2 c dry cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture. Bake in two greased, floured 8 1/2 in round pans at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Frost and top with strawberries or coconut.

Apple Almond Custard Tart by Rachelle
November 26, 2008, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Dessert, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , ,

almond apple custard tart

Looking for something different to serve for Thanksgiving? I made this for Paul’s birthday last week and we were all bowled over at how delicious it is! The tart apples and lemon pair nicely with the sweet almond flavor, and the sugar forms a crisp caramelized crust reminiscent of a crème brûlée. This is from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food which I highly recommend. The only changes I’ve made is to increase the proportions so that it filled my 11 inch tart pan.

For the crust:

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
12 T (1 1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 t pure almond extract

For the filling:

8 T (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
3 t lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
6 T flour
1 c heavy cream
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 in thick
1/4-1/2 c sugar
2/3 cup blanched almonds (I used hazelnuts because I couldn’t find almonds in our Danish grocery stores)

In a small bowl whisk together flour and baking powder, set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and almond extract, beat until just combined. Set mixer to low and add flour mixture until just combined.

Using a spatula spread dough in 11 inch removable-bottom tart pan. Spread evenly over sides and bottom of pan. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl using the mixer, beat butter and 1/2 c sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon zest, mix until combined. With mixer on low, add flour and cream, mix until just smooth. Do not over mix or you will end up with something too much like whipped cream. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice. Arrange evenly in tart pan over chilled dough. Spread filling over apples. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining 1/2 c sugar. (I found you only needed about 1/4 cup) Bake until golden and set, about 40-45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

almond apple custard tart happy

Cinnamon Spiced Mango with Toasted Coconut by Katy K
November 10, 2008, 3:59 am
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Katy K, quick fix | Tags:

img_24891Another winner from the Low Carb 1-2-3 cookbook by Rozanne Gold. I have been having good luck picking mangoes lately.  They say to pick one that gives a little under your thumb and that isn’t wrinkly. I picked an organic one that fit this description at the local food co-op and the cashier gave it to me for free because he thought it was bruised.  I left it on a shelf where I keep my tomatoes for a couple of weeks, and then I prepared this recipe. It turned out to be a great mango, in flavor, color, texture…and price!


Fresh mango
shredded coconut
cardamon and/or cinnamon

Toast the coconut over high heat in a pan, stirring constantly. As soon as they are as toasted as I want, I pour them out of the pan onto a cold plate to stop the toasting process. Slice the mango into attractive pieces.  I found that using a serrated knife (bread knife) was helpful because it bites into the skin of the mango instead of sliding off.  Put the mango on the cutting board on an edge. Use the serrated knife to cut close to the pit and slice off a “cheek”. Use a paring knife to make vertical slices in the cut side of the cheek (the goal is to not cut through the skin but it’s okay if you do a little).  Then use a spoon to remove the slices of mango from themango-en-place22 peel. I found it useful to remove one slice at a time with the spoon (see right).  Arrange the mango slices on a plate, sprinkle with some cardamon and/or cinnamon, and scatter the toasted coconut on top. I used a very little cardamon (for an exotic hint) and more cinnamon. I also used a tea strainer to sprinkle the spices, lightly and evenly. The mango tastes delicious with the coconut and spices. It feels like a really indulgent dessert – even without ice cream!

Peanut Butter Brownies by Katy K
November 2, 2008, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Baked Goods/Desserts, Guest Post, Katy K | Tags:

Having not cooked anything decent (postable) in several weeks, I need to be rescued by one of my food heroes – my next door neighbor, Sarah.  She and and her husband are real foodies, great cooks, super nice and fun, and they live next door – can you believe how lucky I am?   Take it away Sarah…

There were five food groups when I was a kid: meat, bread, fruits, vegetables, and peanut butter. It was understood that if the nuclear holocaust ever came, we’d be living off peanut butter for a very long time, so we might as well develop a taste for it now. (Mom never talked about the fact that it was cheap and didn’t make my backpack smell when I lost a sandwich in there for several days – it happened a lot.) So, I ate a lot of peanut butter growing up, and still love it. I have been known to compose spontaneous soliloquies to a jar of Jif. It’s definitely one of the five foods I’d take to a deserted island. Anyway, when I found this recipe for peanut butter brownies – did I rush into the kitchen to start baking? Of course not! I tucked the recipe away for a year until I needed it for a friend’s birthday. What a shame. A whole year of my life went by without tasting them. Don’t let it happen to you. These babies are special enough to take to parties, but homey enough to make and keep on your counter and cut off just the teensiest little sliver every time you walk by.  Either way, they will be gone in no time. 

Peanut Butter Brownies
Gourmet October 2007


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1¾ c sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
2 t vanilla
2 c flour
1½ c chocolate chips

Ganache (the real reason to make these brownies)

1½ c chocolate chips
½ c heavy cream
1 T unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in middle. Butter a 9×13 pan and line bottom of pan with parchment. Butter parchment.

2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, then mix in flour until just combined.

3. Mix in chocolate chips then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top.

4. Bake until brownies are deep golden, puffed on top, and a wooden toothpick comes out with some crumbs adhering, 40-45m.

5. Cool completely in pan on rack about 1½ hours.

6. Put chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

7. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand 1 minute.

8. Whisk in butter until incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms. 

Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

9. Savor with a tall glass of milk.