Quickly taking its place as the big dog restaurant on the block, Piccadilly has been the one word answer to the what and/or where do you want to eat for dinner question asked what seems a gazillion times over all these years.
A recent walk down memory lane conversation began with Dave and I naming our favorite dishes and desserts that sadly are no longer on the menu at Piccadilly.
Southern fried chicken so crisp you could hear the crunch clear across the rows of booths and tables.
Cinnamon crusted egg custard served in dark green pottery custard cups.
Preparing or purchasing Valentine’s Day sweets for the sweet is a scrumptious tradition. Sweet logic and delicious justification make Cupid’s case for whipping up one of these Valentine’s Day desserts delectably dedicated to the one you love.
Sharing is caring.
Food is love.
Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.
Let’s Valentine’s Day Desserts!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine’s Hearts
¼ cup unsalted butter-softened
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels
For Dipping and Decoration:
10. oz semi sweet baking chocolate
1.5 oz white chocolate for garnish
A few drops of pink or red food colors
Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fully combined, then add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until fluffy. Add flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chip morsels.
Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge to chill.
Pull off the parchment paper to lift the dough from the baking dish. Using heart shaped cookie cutter cut off the truffles and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer while melting chocolate.
Using a fork dip the truffles into melted chocolate ( one at the time), slightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to trim the excess chocolate and place the truffle back on the parchment paper. Set them back in the fridge to firm.
Melt white chocolate, stir in a few drops of red food color, transfer into a small bag, cut the corner off and pipe melted chocolate on top of the truffles.
recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)
recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries (see recipe below) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside. In bowl combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.
Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.
Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate.
To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream)
2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
In a chilled large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, and cherry juice. Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.
16 maraschino cherries with stems
½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening
Drain cherries; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate pieces and shortening. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1½ to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.
The red velvet cupcake, molten lava cakes or cheesecake!
Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes from Spache the Spatula look absolutely divine. Click on the link to check out this and other tempting recipes from Spache the Spatula. Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake
1 pound milk chocolate, chopped
½ cup butter
19 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
48 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
18 ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
11 ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
Chocolate leaves (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries(optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined. Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan. Set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.
Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.
To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like. Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like. Clean knife between each cut. Makes 20 servings.
Bake and chill up to 24 hours. Garnish just before serving.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon salt and the baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg
and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, then cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cutter.
Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Make the filling:
Combine the white chocolate, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and
pinch of salt in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate. Stir until smooth, then refrigerate until cold, 25 minutes. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Sandwich the white chocolate mixture between the cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on cookie sheet or counter work surface.
Using soft brush, brush over sheet with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle entire sheet with sugar. Top with another sheet. Butter, sprinkle and repeat until 6 sheets thick. Repeat to create another 6 sheets stack. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, make ten vertical slices and one horizontal slice down the middle of each stack.
Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line each muffin cup with 1 of the phyllo pieces at a time, covering sides and bottom to form a cup. Repeat making 12 cups.
Using a microplane, shave dark chocolate over each cup to dust.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately place desired amount of chocolate chips in each cup allowing to melt.
Top melted chocolate chips with strawberry slices, drizzled honey and whipped topping. Dust whip topping clouds with cinnamon.
Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake from The Cake Blog. Trust me, this recipe is well worth the time, the effort, and the click on the link to check it out. Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake
Easy as the top ingredient!
Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes
2 sticks butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz. white chocolate
Heat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 regular-size (2 1⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper liners. Beat butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on low speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended.
Spoon scant 1⁄4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2⁄3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining batter. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating. Each recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
For the ganache:
Gently heat ¾ cup heavy cream over medium heat, then pour over 8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted and smooth. Evenly spoon ganache on top of 12 large or 24 small chocolate cupcakes. Let set for 30 minutes.
For the lettering:
Microwave 3 ounces white chocolate on 50% power in 20-second intervals until melted and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 tip, then get creative!
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 6 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Let cool 5 minutes. Place wafer crumbs, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Drizzle melted butter over top of crumb mixture; pulse to combine.
Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine cranberries and 3 tablespoons water in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cranberry puree, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.
Whisk together 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 egg in a medium bowl. Drizzle hot cranberry mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Return mixture to pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon; discard solids.
Combine orange zest and juice, remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, remaining 8 tablespoons butter, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Whisk together egg yolks, remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and remaining 4 eggs in a medium bowl.
Gradually drizzle hot orange mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan over medium heat; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon; discard solids.
Spread orange filling into cooled crust, smoothing top. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling; smoothing top. Let tart cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 10 minutes. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and toasted pecans until blended.
Press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Microwave 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and ½ cup whipping cream in a small microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring at 30-second intervals. Spoon chocolate mixture over bottom of pie crust; sprinkle candy bars over chocolate mixture.
Cover and chill 1 hour or until chocolate mixture is set.
Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and flour in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan; add eggs, egg yolks, and milk, and whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until a pudding-like thickness. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted.)
Remove from heat, and whisk in pumpkin and vanilla bean paste. Transfer to a bowl. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on warm filling (to prevent a film from forming); chill 30 minutes. Spoon pumpkin mixture over chocolate; cover and chill 8 to 24 hours or until filling is firm.
Beat remaining 1 ½ cups cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add syrup, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe over pie.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Unroll dough, separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place in 13×9-inch pan; press over bottom and ½ inch up sides to form crust. Firmly press dough perforations to seal. Bake 8 minutes.
Combine all filling ingredients except ¾ cups pecans in bowl and mix well. Stir in pecans. Spread evenly over hot, partially baked crust. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until filling is set and golden brown. Cool about 1 hour; cut into bars.
Fresh in season blackberries and the herb of my heart, fresh mint, round out the flavor of these summer tastes so good treats.
What we serve should look as good as it tastes.
The three part harmony on the plated side of a prepared recipe is simple- flavor it up, pretty it up and serve it up.
Aromas entice, but we eat with our eyes first.
The Places in the Home test kitchen becomes sweet tooth central in the summer months.
Our “Is there anything sweet to eat?” gang prefers lighter desserts big on summer flavor (coconut, tropical, lemony, melons, berries, etc…) over heavier cakes and pies usually associated with cold weather noshing and nesting.
Yes, there is a distinct association between foods and flavors and the seasons.
Delicious discovery after a quick inventory of the sweets shelf resulted in a Duncan Hines Signature Perfectly Moist Angel Food cake mix staring back at me.
Angel food cake stands on its own as a light dessert, and the fresh blackberries I picked up at the market would only add to the mix, but this dessert combination did not call out to me.
Isn’t it funny how creative one can become when a sweet tooth is involved?
One can of lemon pie filling, a gorgeous lemon primed and ready for zest, and a recent rediscovery of the fresh mint I planted in a window box planter a couple of spring seasons ago filled in the blanks.
Cream cheese and powdered sugar are basic staples around my kitchen so it’s all good.
This recipe for Lemon Angel Squares is easy, delicious and a nice choice for a summer treat.
The taste is fresh, the bite is lemon bright and did I mention this recipe is easy.
Just add summer.
Lemon Angel Squares
1 16 ounce package angel food cake mix
1 21 ounce can lemon pie filling
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the angel food cake mix with the lemon pie filling and zest in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth.
Pour the batter into an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.
Cream Cheese Icing
3 oz. cream cheese
2-3 Tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Beat together all ingredients.
It’s that simple!
Generously frost each square with cream cheese icing and garnish with blackberries and mint.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased and floured Bundt or loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from pan to cake plate.
Allow cake to completely cool before frosting. Frost cake and garnish top with pumpkin pie spice and sugar in the raw. Keep cake in refrigerator for optimum freshness.
Cream Cheese and Maple Syrup Frosting
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually sift confectioners’ sugar into cream cheese and butter mixture, mixing until smooth. Stir in maple syrup until incorporated. Frost top of cake and garnish with pumpkin pie spice and sugar in the raw.
Crown Royal Frosting
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 stick butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons Crown Royal
Combine sugar, buttermilk and butter in saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil several minutes until sugar is melted and mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add baking soda and corn syrup. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add Crown Royal, whisk, and drizzle icing on top of pound cake.
Homemade for the Holidays Banana Bread
3 packages banana nut muffin mix
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup raisins
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray or grease two (2) muffins pan and set aside. Whisk muffin mix and cloves together to incorporate and smooth out lumps.
In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the ripe bananas; add to dry ingredients. Add crush pineapple and pineapple juice, raisins and water; stir well to blend all ingredients together.
Divide mixture between the two prepared muffin pans.
Bake at 400 for 40- 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Engagement festivities reigned supreme this past weekend. The out of town guests arrived in Louisiana ready to meet and greet our family and to sample the local cuisine.
Boiled crawfish, crawfish étouffée, fried catfish, and Gulf snapper headlined the menu, but it’s important to remember a simple fact of culinary life- Midwesterners can’t survive an entire weekend on Louisiana seafood alone. I’m a born and raised Louisianian, and even I can’t do the crawfish thing too often.
It’s not a party until someone bakes, cooks, whips, or stirs! Fresh Louisiana strawberries served with fruit dip, Southern Krispy cheese straws, and dark chocolate brownies with Louisiana pecans threw a culinary life preserver to the anti-crawfish crowd.
To frost or not to frost a brownie is always a consideration. I made a last minute executive chef decision to go with the frosting, scrambling to the grocery store to pick up a can of Duncan Hines home-style milk chocolate frosting. What begins a store bought frosting ends a delicious Kahlua Coffee Frosting delight courtesy of a couple of flavor adjustments and infusions. Things become mighty tasty with the rich flavors of instant coffee granules, Kahlua, Kosher salt, and Hershey’s dark chocolate.
Kahlua Coffee Frosting
1 can Duncan Hines creamy home-style milk chocolate frosting
1½ teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons Kahlua
6 squares Hershey’s dark chocolate
Add instant coffee granules, Kosher salt, and Kahlua to frosting. Stir well to blend all ingredients together. The bite of the coffee granules is pitch perfect, the coarse Kosher salt wakes up the flavors, and the Kahlua complements the coffee so well.
Use a smooth edge knife to frost the tops of the brownies. Make dark chocolate curls with a potato or vegetable peeler by running the peeler across the top of the chocolate, allowing curls to fall on the tops of the brownies. Work quickly with the chocolate-it melts super fast from the heat of your hand.