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Archive for September, 2011

Grape Escape

You know, you really don’t see a lot of baked goods with grapes as an ingredient.  I’ve never baked with them before and had never really put much thought into baking with them, and I wondered why.  Other fresh fruits are mainstays in baking, so why not grapes?  Is it their taste, their texture, their water content, their direct link to raisins?  Maybe all of the above?  I still don’t know.  Whatever the reason, I decided to up my baked goods tally by one and experiment with this pretty normal food.  The result was a fantastically different cake, one which Lee was more than happy to eat and swoon over.

Grape Cake

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese

2 cups black seedless grapes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with canola oil.  Line the outside bottom of the pan with tin foil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the honey. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.  Stir in the ricotta cheese.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. During this time prepare the fruit, toss the grapes with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Once the 15 minutes are done pour the fruit on top of the cake and distribute evenly, pressing down gently on the grapes. Bake for and additional 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe comes from I’ll Have What She’s Having.

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Rockin’ Ricotta Cookies

Lately I’ve been trying to use up ingredients that have been hanging out in my cupboards or refrigerator, patiently waiting for something great to happen to them.  I ended up buying a container of ricotta to use for my morning breakfasts one week (toast, ricotta, honey, berries – try it!) but only put a dent in it.  The solution for me was to make some fluffy and absolutely delicious ricotta cookies.  They’re light and rich and beautiful all at once.

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, stirring until well blended and slightly fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.

To the wet mixture, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mixing well to combine. To this mixture, add the three types of chocolate chips, again stirring until well blended.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once chilled, use an ice cream scoop to place golf ball sized pieces of dough on baking sheets covered with parchment paper or cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Makes about 12 cookies—more like 24 if you don’t make them as gargantuan-sized as I do.

Recipe adapted from La Kocinera.

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