Category Archives: Sweet

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Blueberry – Butterscotch Dump Cake

Once you have Dump Cake on the brain it’s tough to abandon the thought. Such a simple dessert and so many possible variations. I had to get lunch together today and had only an hour to do it. A quick trip to the store produced some nice fresh corn, some turkey burgers, jalapeño, and avocado. . . sounds good so far right?  Got a lot better.

When I was passing the baking isle I thought of Dump Cake, as I am prone to do! I went with a classic made with crushed pineapple, blueberry pie filling and yellow cake. However some butterscotch chips caught my eye so in the cart they went.

Once I got home this was ready to go in the oven in less time than it took to preheat.

Ingredients

1 can crushed pineapple (about 20 ounces), not drained

1 can blueberry pie filling (about 21 ounces)

6 ounces butterscotch chips

1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 pound)

1 box yellow cake mix (about 16 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350f

1.  In a 9 by 13 pan put the pie filling and the crushed pineapple.

2.  Spread 1/2 of the butterscotch chips evenly over the pie filling.

3.  Top with  the dry cake mix, scatter the remaining butterscotch chips evenly over the cake mix.

4.  Slice the butter in 1/8th inch slices evenly top the Dump Cake.

5.  Bake at 350f until golden brown on top.  Typically about 40 minutes.

6.  I prefer to serve dump cake cold or room temperature.  Top with a bit of whipped cream.

Thyme for More Dump Cake,

Jason

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Strawberry – Pineapple Dump Cake

One of the simplest and best things in life. . . dump cake!

I was first introduced to dump cake several years ago.  I was just married and  relatively fresh from the Marine Corps.  My Wife introduced me to a amazing classic American dessert, Dump Cake!  Any time we had to go to a pot luck or when I  would have my friends to the house to play Dungeons and Dragons (not a dork), she would always make dump cake and have fresh whipped cream.  It was awesome.

Dump cake is simple easy and quick to put together.  Don’t feel any pressure to buy a expensive cake mix.  It has been my experience that the cheaper mixes work great. I suppose there are those that have figured out how to do this from scratch, with out the box cake.  I personally have never walked that path, perhaps some day, for now Its too good and easy the way it is.     One thing to always remember is to buy unsalted butter.  Then again, Its always good to use unsalted butter. . . One of life’s simple truths.

One of these days I will include her “original Dump Cake” recipe but for today I decided to make a slight variation.  Here in Texas we have had so many days of rain and storms it seemed like when we had a day of sun something with strawberries, or at very least strawberry flavor,  seemed like the natural thing to make.  Funny how once in a while something from a can or box hits the spot.  Dorito Topped Chili Dog Enchiladas come to mind. . .  ahh another day perhaps.  Today there is Strawberry Pineapple Dump Cake.

Ingredients

1 can strawberry pie filing (about 21 ounces)

1 can crushed pineapple, not drained (about 20 ounces)

1 box strawberry cake mix (15.25 ounces), I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme

1/4 pound butter (1 stick)

Preheat oven to 350f

1.  In a 9 by 13 pan spread both the pie filling and the crushed pineapple.

2.  Dump the cake mix on top, trying to keep it fairly even.  Cut the butter in 1/8th inch slices and place evenly over the cake mix.

3.  Bake at 350f for about 40 to 50 minutes depending on your oven.

4.  Remove when golden brown.  Your kitchen will smell amazing, you will crave dump cake.

5.  Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream or even just plain.  I prefer to serve this either room temperature or cold.

Thyme for dessert,

Jason

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Dead Shirley’s Buttercream

 

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Shirley was, to the best of my memory, a mean woman.  Not pleasant and not well put together.  Shirley was not friendly, at least not to us, although she seemed fond of her gaggle of cats.  How my family fell into buying our special occasion cakes from her I cannot say.  I was too young to know the politics of that.  I suspect that she was the relative of a friend and we were under some sort of unwritten obligation to do so.  Whatever the case, I grew up eating birthday cakes and special holiday cakes made by Shirley.  I do not know her last name but the frosting she made, in my mind,  is synonymous with a celebration.  Like many foods from childhood, one bite can take you back 20 years.   Before she passed away we were fortunate enough to get her icing recipe “Shirley’s Buttercream.” After she was gone we referred to it as “Dead Shirley’s Buttercream”.

When I first started cooking professionally I had the opportunity to try many pastries, some of which really were amazing and in some cases just ridiculously good.  Some pastries that really made an impression are baklava, Eaton mess, pavlova, and soufflés.  Not to mention the many awesome original creations by pastry chefs around the country.  One thing that has always left me unsatisfied, however, is the icing on cupcakes and special occasion cakes. . .  it’s always too refined, not sweet enough, not Dead Shirley’s!

I had given the recipe out for a few years to any colleague who wanted it, after singing the praises of my wonderfully unrefined icing of course.  One day, while working at the Ritz – Carlton in Dearborn Michigan, we had a visiting Pastry Chef from the Ritz – Carlton San Francisco.  The most amazing thing was that he was making a recipe called “Dead Shirley’s Buttercream”!  I asked him where he got it and he said from a friend who is a Pastry Chef.  Not being able to resist I asked him if he knew the origin of the name. He did not but speculated that it’s so full of sugar and fat it must have killed someone named Shirley. . .  He may have had a point!

 

Thyme Remembered,

Jason

 

Dead Shirley’s Buttercream

Makes about 1 quart (enough to ice 30 – 35 cupcakes)

Ingredients

360 Grams Confectioners’ Sugar

200 Grams Butter

200 Grams Shortening

15 Grams Vanilla

  1. Combine in a electric mixing bowl with whisk
  2. Start on slow until the ingredients come together then turn up slowly
  3. Beat on high 10 minutes
  4. Store in a cool place covered in plastic for up to a week, you do not have to keep in a refrigerator unless keeping for an extended period (just be careful its covered so it does not take on any off flavors)

 

Peaunt Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie

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Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie

There are perfect times in life for treats like this one.  It’s the food of celebration –  I just graduated, got the job, won the prize, and finished the project, feel good food.  It’s also I bombed the test, lost my dog, crashed the truck, got pelted with rocks and garbage, drown your sorrows food.   Often times when you put too many good things in one dish it ends up not good . . .  this is not one of those times.  I do caution you however, if you are one of the people in this world that doesn’t want any “heavy desserts” or if you feel “a delicate short bread cookie is all you need to feel satisfied” you may want to skip this one.  It’s sweet, childish, rustic, a bit heavy, undelicate (I made a new word), and perhaps even uncouth.  It’s also really, really good! One bite will put a smile on your face.

This is a dessert that will remind you of pot lucks, holiday dinners with the family, and being a kid.  Chocolate, peanut butter, candies, and whipped cream . . . awesomeness.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie

Makes one 10 Inch Pie

Ingredients

For the crust

2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (made by smashing 8 ounces of Oreos)

5 tablespoons butter, melted

 

For the filling

8 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature for 1 hour)

5 ounces peanut butter (creamy)

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup sugar

6 oz chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups (not too fine, rough chop)

4 oz chopped Heath bar (not too fine, rough chop)

 

For the chocolate topping

6 ounces chocolate (I like a nice darker chocolate)

6 ounces heavy cream

3 oz sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

For the whipped cream topping

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chopped candy for garnish (snickers, whoppers, Oreo)

Begin by making the crust in a 10 inch pie tin

If you have not crusted your Oreos yet, a good way to do it is in a freezer bag with a rolling pin.  While you are taking out your aggressions on the Oreo’s you can melt your 5 tablespoons of butter.  Put the Oreo crumbs in a bowl and mix well with the melted butter.  Press these into the bottom and sides of the pie tin.  Put in the refrigerator to harden.

Make the filling by whipping the ½ cup of cream with the sugar until it has nice stiff peaks. Put the cream cheese in a mixer and soften further with the paddle.  Add the peanut butter and combine well.   Remove from the mixer and using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream mix into the peanut butter mix until mixed well.  Try not to over mix though you want to keep the air as much as possible.  Spread the mix evenly into your pie crust.  Top with the roughly chopped Reese’s and press them into the peanut butter mix.  Sprinkle on the chopped Heath bar.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to firm up and chill.

To make the chocolate topping chop the chocolate into small chunks and put in a bowl with the sugar.  Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate, wait 30 seconds then stir with a rubber spatula until melted.  Pour over the pie starting in the center and working your way around and to the outside.  The pie should be covered completely in chocolate.  Put the pie back in the cooler for at least an hour or two to fully set and chill.  Overnight is perfect.

I like to serve this with fresh whipped cream topping.  Take the cup of cream and mix it with the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip in a mixer until nice peaks form.  Put a dollop on each slice of pie and put some of your favorite chopped candies on top.  Some of my preferred candies are: snickers, Whoppers and Oreos.  I could see myself in the future also adding little tiny marshmallows and perhaps a Carmelo that has been just broken enough to allow the caramel filling to start running out.  I’m definitely looking forward to the future!

Thyme is on your side,

Jason

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Autumn is upon is.   A crisp wind blows and our thoughts turn toward Thanksgiving, apple cider, roasting turkeys, and of course pumpkin pie. Fall is unequivocally my favorite season.  Finally a new chill in the air, a respite from the summer heat.  I love the day, which comes each year, when I wake up, partake in the morning routine, I stick my head out the door to check the weather . . .  inhale.  The air for the first time, is cold, and it just feels good.  Next thing I know I am standing outside just to feel and breath the crisp air.  It feels clean . . . fresh.  I should get a jacket, but I don’t, I want to relish in the crisp chill in the air, at least the first day. Love that.

This recipe, developed in honor of the fall, is not quite a cheese cake and not quite a pumpkin pie, although it has elements of both.   When I created it I did not know what to expect and quite frankly I’m not sure technically  what it is, but I know it’s good!

Until next thyme,

Jason

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

 

For the Filling

16 ounces cream cheese, allow to soften at room temperature a bit

15 ounces (one can) pumpkin puree

6 eggs

2 ½ cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon maple extract

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

For the topping

2 cups sour cream

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1.       Preheat oven to 300f and get your 9 by 13 pan at the ready.   Spray the pan with pan spray.

2.       For the crust combine the graham crackers and the sugar together then rain in the butter and mix well.  Press this into the bottom of your 9 by 13 pan.

3.       For the filling you will need to whisk you softened cream cheese in a mixer when nice and soft add the pumpkin puree and mix.  Add the eggs one at a time, then add all remaining filling ingredients.  The goal is to mix everything well but not necessarily to whip everything and add a bunch of air, so don’t over whisk.

4.       Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake at 300 for about 50 minutes.

5.       Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.  At that time prepare the topping ingredients by whisking everything together.

6.       Pour the topping on top and spread evenly, return to the oven for 10 minutes.

7.       Chill at room temperature for ½ hour and then put in the refrigerator.

 

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The Family Cheesecake

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The Family Cheesecake

There was a great battle of baking titans that took place around the year 1970.  The combatants, masters of cheesecake: the battlefield, Ann Arbor Michigan.  The coveted tile of “Strawberry Festival Prize Winner”, hung in the balance.  Tensions, I am sure, were high as the contestants attempted to whisk and bake their way into the annuals of Strawberry Festival glory.   Each with A spatula and a dream.  The dust settled, one contender is left standing – Phyllis Legg.  Her cheesecake, was light, had wonderful flavor and a vanilla scented sour cream topping that set it apart from the pack!

The rest of the story of this legendary cheesecake is as follows.  The recipe was originally my grandmothers, Margaret Maltby, who naturally passed it onto my mother, Karen Weaver.  After relocating to Michigan, my mother passed the recipe to my aunt, Phyllis Legg.  Aunt Phyllis did indeed enter it into that contest. . .  The rest, as they say, is history (original clipping from the paper is below).

Family recipes comfort us like no others.  One bite of this cheesecake immediately takes me back 30 years.  I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we have.

For old thymes sake,

Jason

 

The Family Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Filling

24 ounces cream cheese (3 – 8 0z packs), softened at room temperature a bit.

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Topping

3 cups sour cream

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

  1.  Spray a 9 by 13 pan with non-stick coating, pre-heat oven to 300 f
  2. To make the crust combine the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar, then mix in the melted butter.  Press into your pan.
  3. To make the filling, soften cream cheese in a mixer.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Pour over the crust and bake at 300f for about 45 minutes, the center will jiggle slightly.  Remove from the oven and let sit five minutes.
  4. Wisk together the topping ingredients.  Pour on and evenly spread the topping over the cheese cake and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove and chill before serving.

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Chocolate Marshmallow Nachos

 

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This is a wonderful time of year to be a cook.  The weather is starting to cool down and summer is almost behind us.  Football season is starting and we are all covering our grills and moving inside for some heartier cooking.

This is a great recipe to make for a salty sweet dessert that is perfect for football parties.

The ingredients below are measured out but are simply guidelines based on taste. Me personally, I like a lot of chocolate sauce and marshmallows so the nachos become very rustic and “gooey”.  You can adjust this recipe as you see fit.  If you really want to go wild you can have some extra caramel sauce and chocolate sauce on the side to serve as “salsa” if you will.

Chocolate – Marshmallow Nachos

Ingredients

3 quarts fried, lightly salted tortilla chips

2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup chocolate sauce

2 cups small marshmallows

½ cup chopped, dry roasted, salted peanuts

Powdered sugar to garnish

 

  1.  Heat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Place your chips on an oven proof platter (a cast iron skillet works great too).
  3. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips and chocolate sauce over all the chips, try to get some on each chip.
  4. Slide the nachos in the oven for about 3 minutes to start melting the chocolate chips.  Remove and top with the marshmallows.
  5. Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes more or until the marshmallows are slightly brown.  Top with the peanuts and serve warm.