Sunday, March 30

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Cafe flavor right from your own kitchen, the muffins are a real crowd favorite. A moist center filled with melty chocolate chips and a hint of cinnamon. Served dusted with a layer of powdered sugar for an added sweetness.

Full time 45-60 minutes (includes cooling time)
Makes 9 jumbo muffins

You will need:

3 eggs
1 Box (or homemade batch) Devil's Food cake mix
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 375' and line 9 jumbo muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, pass cake mix through a fine mesh strainer or sifter. This is  a very important step, you need to remove any lumps from the mix.


Sprinkle cinnamon across the top of the sifted mix.

In a separate bowl beat eggs thoroughly.


Add in milk, oil, water, and vanilla. Whisking until well incorporated.


Add in sour cream and whisk well until fully blended.


Pour liquid mixture over cake mix and allow it to sink in for 30 seconds to a minute.


Mix gently together ONLY until mixture is even in consistency, you cannot over mix this batter. Think of it as aggressive folding instead of mixing.


Fold in chocolate chips just to incorporate them.


Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full.


Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes of until tops spring back when you gently press on center of muffin. You could use a toothpick, but be warned if you pierce a chocolate chip, the pick will not come out clean. So you may need to try a few muffins.


Allow to cool in tray for 10-15 minutes or until muffin tops feel cool to the touch.

Remove from muffin tray and allow to fully cool before dusting with powdered sugar.

Once cool, dust across top of muffins with powdered sugar. Serve and cheers!

Friday, March 28

Japanese Peach Jellies


Japanese jelly candies are by far one of the best candies I have ever tasted. The full fruit flavor and soft texture are a delightful bite. Easy to make and fun to try in different flavors, these great little treats add a little something extra to lunches or gifts.

Full time 12+ hours (includes overnight rest in refrigerator)
Makes between 25-48 candies (if using cutters)

You will need:

1 pound peaches, peeled, cored and sliced
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
6 tsp powdered pectin

*If you have never made a homemade jelly candy before or are new to making candy in general, you will want to read the notes at the end of this blog before beginning.

Let us begin:

Line a 8 x 8 baking dish with plastic wrap. (I am using an 6 x 8 in photos)

In a blender puree peaches and lime juice until smooth and chunk free. If you feel it needs a tiny bit more moisture to help it blend, add 1 tsp water.



In a medium sauce pot, whisk together the pureed peaches with 1/2 cup sugar.


Cook mixture over medium-low heat until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Approximately 15 minutes.


Once thickened, remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cup sugar and pectin. Whisking quickly to prevent clumps from forming.


Return to heat and cook mixture until it reaches 205' on a thermometer, stirring constantly.


Once the temperature hits 205' remove thermometer. Continue cooking for 10 minutes (you may want to use a timer), stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour into plastic lined baking dish.


Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator overnight or at least 10 hours.

The next day.

Pour 1/4 cup sugar onto a silicone mat or non stick cutting board.


Remove jelly from refrigerator and remove top plastic wrap.

Flip jelly over onto the sugar covered surface.


Slowly peel up plastic wrap from the base of jelly, it will take a tad bit of patience to prevent ripping the wrap.

Pour over remaining sugar and coat jelly.


You can either slice into squares, trimming off the outside edges of the pan to create nice smooth lines. Or use jelly cutters dipped in sugar to cut out nice fun shapes.


Pile jellies into seal-able container or on a serving dish. Cheers!

A few notes before beginning this recipe or any jellies recipe.

  1. Cooking jellies is not a child safe activity to try. The mixture is extremely hot and sticky. It can cause really nasty burns if not handled properly.
  2. You cannot, for any reason stop mixing this at any point during the cooking phase. Seriously, the stirring is not just to prevent scorching but to prevent the bubbling. Once it gets bubbling this mixture will splatter up very high and fast. If you need to stop even for a second, remove the mixture from the heat instantly. You risk nasty burns if it starts bubbling.
  3. If for some reason you do stop stirring and it starts bubbling, take precautions and cover both your arms and hands before you attempt to go back to stirring. Also watch your face as it can splatter very high once bubbling. You can get the mixture back under control if you start stirring it in about 30 seconds, but I cannot stress how hot and sticky this will be.
  4. Do not be surprised if it takes a few moments to get the plastic off the cured jelly, it is after all jelly therefore sticky. Just work slowly and in little movements to prevent tearing the wrap.

Wednesday, March 26

Armenian Spicy Seafood Bake


Armenian food is heavily influenced by several Mediterrainian cultures and countries. Relying heavily on fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices-Armenian food is a great delight to try. Using a traditional spice blend with a mixture of several seafoods creates a great dish.

Serves 2-4
Full time 1 hour

You will need:

6-8 little neck clams
6-8 mussels
6-8 medium sea scallops
1/2 pound shrimp
2 tbsp butter, diced into 8 pieces 
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground sumac
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground sumac

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 425'.

In a medium size baking size place diced butter cubes in a spread out layer. Set aside.

Making sure your seafood is thourally cleaned, place all seafood in a large bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Add in all seasoning and toss seafood to completely cover evenly.

Pour covered seafood over butter cubes and spread out in an even layer.

Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until clams/mussels have opened nicely and shrimp is a nice shade of pink.

Remove from oven and remove from hot baking dish to stop cooking.

Serve along side some great bread and cheers!

Monday, March 24

Chocolate Chip Swirl Brownies


Half fudge brownie, half velvety cream cream, and topped with chocolate chips, these brownies are a easy fun treat! 

Full time 45 minutes
Makes 16 brownies

You will need:

For Brownie Base 
2 eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/3 cup baking powdered coco
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

For Cream Cheese Swirl
1 egg
4 oz cream cheese, softened 
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

In addition
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350' and line a 8 x 8 basking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, coco powder, salt, and baking powder.

Add in eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir well to create a nice even mixture. Set aside for a moment.

In a small bowl cream the cream cheese until smooth and lump free.

Add in egg, sugar, and vanilla. Stir well to create a nice even mixture. Set aside for a moment.

Working with the brownie base first, pour 1/2-2/3 into your prepared pan and even out with a spatula.

Spoon in large drops of cream cheese mixture onto the top of brownie base. Use roughly 3/4. Do not fully cover it and do not worry if you leave a trail while working, that will make it better.

Spoon remaining brownie base over the top, again you will not fully cover the previous layer. The more it swirls together the better the out come.

Spoon remaining cream chesse mixture over the top, same as before do not fully cover.

Spread chocolate chips across the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until center feels set and an inserted tooth pick 1 1/2" from edge comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in pan.

Pull gently up on aluminum foil to remove brownies from pan.

Carefully remove aluminum foil.

Slice into 16 even squares.

Serve and Cheers!

Saturday, March 22

TABLE FOR TWO: English Dijon Turkey Pot


Cooking "in pot" is a very English tradition of literally cooking everything in one pot. Vegetables, meat, and pan gravy, all melding into one tasty meal. This traditional style of cooking was originated to be cooked over the open fire, since then it has been fine tuned to fit modern cooking methods with old world flavors.

Full time 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Serves 2

You will need:

3 to 4 turkey legs
3 medium potatoes, cut into large pieces
1 onion, diced large
1 lemon
2 cup baby carrots
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped dried rosemary
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'.

In a dutch oven heat vegetable oil and butter over medium high heat, until butter melts.

Add in onions and minced garlic.


Cook 3-5 minutes or until onions have softened.

Push onions over to one side of the pot. Season turkey legs evenly with salt and pepper and place into the pot.


Sear each side for 5-6 minutes or until each side is nice and golden. Once golden, add in white wine and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.


Once white wine has reduced place diced potatoes around the outside of the pot.


Pour in the chicken stock and place carrots into the pot.


In a small bowl mix together Dijon mustard and juice of the lemon.

Pour mixture over the top of the turkey legs.


Add the lemon halves into the pot and cover it.


Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes or until chicken tests 165' degrees on a meat thermometer. Basting once or twice during the cooking time.

Once turkey has reached proper temperature, remove from oven and let rest in pot for 10 minutes.

Serve and cheers!

Thursday, March 20

Bakery Quality 5-Ingredient White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies


A Cafe lover's fantasy these cookies are a dream filled with macadamia nuts wishes and white chocolate kisses. Quick and easy to make, you will want to curl up with a cup of tea and a plate of these cookies.

Full time 35-45 minutes (includes baking in multiple batches and cooling time)
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

You will need:

2 eggs
1 Box French Vanilla Cake Mix
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'.

In a large mixing bowl combine, cake mix, eggs, and oil. Stirring until well blended and large clumps of cake mix are no longer visible. This will take a few minutes and some heavy stirring.


Add in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. 
Stir to well incorporated and well mixed.

Scoop out 1 tbsp size balls of dough and roll gently in the palm of your hand. Lay rolled ball onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Placing balls 1 1/2" apart.


Bake full trays for 9-11 minutes or until edges begin to golden.


Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray for 5-10 minutes.

Remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Cheers!

Saturday, March 15

Bakery Quality 5-Ingredient Double Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

A chocolate lover's paradise these cookies are packed with chocolate chunks and chocolate chips. Quick and easy to make, you will want to curl up with a glass of milk and a plate of these cookies.

Full time 35-45 minutes (includes baking in multiple batches and cooling time)
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

You will need:

2 eggs
1 Box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'.

In a large mixing bowl combine, cake mix, eggs, and oil. Stirring until well blended and large clumps of cake mix are no longer visible. This will take a few minutes and some heavy stirring.


Add in the chocolate chunks and chocolate chips.


Stir to well incorporated and well mixed.


Scoop out 1 tbsp size balls of dough and roll gently in the palm of your hand. Lay rolled ball onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Placing balls 1 1/2" apart.


Bake full trays for 9-11 minutes or until edges begin to darken.


Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray for 5-10 minutes.

Remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Cheers!