Maple Raisin English Muffins

Nothing beats an English muffin broiled to a crispy, golden brown and slathered with butter. Well, except for a maple-flavored English muffin! Raisins add a pop of flavor, and the fragrance of maple and cinnamon will make your mouth water long before the muffin hits your plate.

It took me a few tries before I got this right, but it was worth the effort. And now I have a huge bag of perfectly acceptable test muffins in the freezer, which will come in handy this winter.

I tried different types of flour (which made very little difference), muffin rings (meh – not necessary), and different rise times (this really mattered). I also tried many methods of shaping and cooking these babies, and here’s what I learned:

  1. You know those lovely little holes inside where the butter pools up? You get those by using a very soft dough and a long rise. It’s probably the only time you’ll ever hear me tell you to let the dough rise until it blows up and caves in. If you don’t want to let the dough rise overnight, at least give it 4 hours. This will add flavor, too.
  2. All maple flavoring is not the same. And in my opinion, none that I have tried is potent enough. I used a tablespoon of Mapleine in this recipe and it still was just barely maple flavored. (That’s why I added flavor to the cornmeal/farina too.) I’ve just ordered a couple of interesting brands of maple flavor that are supposed to be really strong. I’ll do a taste test and let you know. Until then, be generous!
  3. If you want to skip the rolling/patting/cutting step, you can use an ice cream scoop and drop the dough right on the cooking surface and pat it into shape. BUT there is a general lack of uniformity. If you can live with that, go the easy route! I just can’t. I like it when everything is the same size and shape. OCD much?
  4. These need to be cooked low and slow. Otherwise, the outside of the muffin will be dark before the inside is cooked, and no one likes a gooey center. I used an electric skillet set between 250 and 275 F. Since the muffins wouldn’t all fit on my skillet, I also used a cast iron skillet at medium-low heat. Both worked very well. You will have to adjust the temperature as you go because electric skillets aren’t very accurate. Shoot for 7 minutes on each side to get the color you want, and then turn the heat down and let them go another 3 minutes or so on each side. It’s not that hard – but it may take a little practice. Then you, too, will have a stash of muffins in your freezer.
  5. If it looks like the outside is done but the sides still feel squishy, you can cover the muffins with foil or a lid and cook a little longer at low heat; this will act like an oven. And, if all else fails, pop them in the oven at 350 F for a few minutes. I haven’t had to do this, but it’s perfectly acceptable. The Traditional English Muffin Police will not be visiting to chastise you. Honest.
  6. As hard as it may be, wait for the muffins to cool completely before separating them. And don’t use a knife. This thingamajig that I bought to help me slice onions without cutting off my fingertips? It works really well.

This works really well, but then – so does a fork. (Put that knife DOWN!)

So does a fork. Or you can just tear the muffin open with your fingers and go with the rustic look.

Maple Raisin English Muffins
Print
Author:
Makes twelve 3½-inch muffins For best results, make the dough at night and let it rise on the counter. Shape and bake in the morning!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (use Grade B if you can find it; it's more flavorful)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup very warm water
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavor (This will be mild. Double the amount for a rich maple flavor)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal (Or try farina. I use Malt-O-Meal)
  • ¼ teaspoon maple flavor (optional) to mix with cornmeal
  • a small amount of butter
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, cook the milk, syrup, salt, and cinnamon until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Don't boil!
  2. Remove from heat. Add butter and raisins, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and the temperature is comfortably warm.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit until foamy - about 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer is recommended) fit with a dough hook, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, egg, and maple flavor.
  5. Add flour and beat for 3 minutes
  6. Scoop dough into a large greased bowl. Use a rubber spatula to turn the dough over so that all sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit on the counter overnight.
  7. Combine cornmeal (or farina) and maple flavor, if using. Sprinkle on a lightly buttered electric griddle(or cast iron skillets).
  8. Generously flour a piece of parchment and drop the dough in the middle. Sprinkle with flour and pat with your hand until it is approximately ⅓ to1/2-inch thick.
  9. Using 3½-inch round cutter, cut as many circles as you can. Lift each one with a spatula and place on prepared skillet. Press each round firmly with the palm of your hand. Gather the dough scraps and press to cut remaining circles.
  10. Cover lightly with a clean towel and let the muffins sit on the unheated griddle for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove cover and turn the heat on. An electric skillet should be turned between 250 and 275 F. A cast iron skillet on the stove should be turned to medium-low. Adjust as needed; it's better to cook too slowly than too fast. If heat is too high the outsides will be dark but the center will be doughy. At 7 minutes, the muffin should be golden brown and ready to turn.
  12. When the bottom is brown, use a thin spatula to flip the muffins over. Cook on that side until brown.
  13. Turn the heat down and flip the muffins over one more time, for about 3 minutes on each side.
  14. Allow the muffins to cool completely before using a fork to split. Toast under a broiler for best results.

Heat milk, syrup, cinnamon, and salt until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and raisins.

Combine milk mixture, yeast, and egg.

Add maple flavoring.

Use a big, greased bowl. Bigger! (Use a rubber spatula to flip the dough over to coat the whole surface.)

Here’s why you need a big bowl. See how full it is once you let it rise all night?

Optional: Add maple to the cornmeal or farina (I use Malt-O-Meal) for another layer of flavor. Sprinkle it on a lightly buttered griddle or skillet.

On floured surface, use your hand to pat dough 1/3-1/2 inch thick.

Place on the prepared unheated skillet, press down with hand (to enlarge and so cornmeal will stick) and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes. They’ll do more rising while they cook.

Cook on both sides until brown. Then turn the heat down and cook a few more minutes on each side to make sure the center is done. Let them cool before splitting.

I don’t suppose you need any suggestions for eating these bad boys, but just in case:

More maple to come!

Lorinda

 

Maple Marshmallow Treats

Okay, I’m not offering a stunning show of baking skills here; what I’m posting is pure comfort food, with a maple twist. I’ve always loved Krispie treats, as long as they aren’t so dry they tear your mouth up. My version has always included more butter and more marshmallows for a soft, chewy experience.

These are even better, because . . . duh . . . maple!

I cooked a very simple caramel-type syrup, using pure maple syrup, then stirred in marshmallows and MORE maple flavoring. Actually, in the pictured batch on this post, I was so intent on getting a photo of the maple flavoring being poured into the mixture that I jerked my hand and probably poured another tablespoon into the pan. It was wonderful, but you don’t have to use that much!

Whoops. I may have gotten a little carried away.

To do this right you will need pure maple syrup. Inexpensive breakfast syrup might not set up as well. You know those maple candies I blather on about every year? The ones shaped like leaves that melt in your mouth? Those are just pure maple syrup, cooked until it turns into sugar. You can’t make that happen with fake syrup, no matter how good it tastes. It’s just a different product entirely.

You’ll also want to buy maple extract or flavoring. I usually use Mapleine, but have been known to experiment with other brands. And, here’s news!!! (Can you tell I’m so, so, so excited about this?) Nestle has just come out with maple morsels. I haven’t seen them yet (we live in the boondocks) but my friend in Florida just bought some, and I’m so jealous. I will buy them by the case as soon as I find them. Anyhow, my point here is, if you want to skip the flavoring and just stir in a bag of maple morsels, I’ll bet that would be fabulous.

I cut most of the treats into traditional squares but couldn’t resist forming some into little balls, then rolling them in chopped toasted pecans. Yum.

Ready? This is easy. If you have a candy thermometer, cook the mixture until it’s about 260 F. It not, just boil for 6 minutes. This isn’t as touchy as fudge or peanut brittle – just get the temperature in the ballpark and you’re good.

Maple Marshmallow Krispie Treats
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) crispy rice cereal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (If you can find Grade B, use it for more flavor)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (I use Mapleine)
  • A 10-ounce bag of mini-marshmallows
  • Chopped, toasted pecans (optional, if making pecan covered balls)
Instructions
  1. Line a 12 x 17 baking sheet with parchment. Butter lightly.
  2. Lightly grease a very large bowl (I use a stock pot). Put the cereal in this and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan (3-quart size is best) over medium heat, cook and stir sugar, butter, syrup, and salt until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook and stir for approximately 6 minutes (it will get slightly thick) or until 250-260 on a candy thermometer.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the maple flavoring and marshmallows. Pour over the cereal and stir well.
  5. Press into the prepared baking sheet and allow it to cool and set up. If you want to roll some into balls, simply spoon a little out at a time and roll, using buttered hands. Roll in pecans if desired.
  6. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Bring the sugar, butter, syrup, and salt to a boil.

Boil and stir 6 minutes, or until it reaches 250-260 degrees.

Add marshmallows and maple flavoring

Stir the hot marshmallow mixture into the rice cereal

Press into prepared pan. Let them set a bit before cutting.

Or form balls and roll in chopped pecans!

Chewy, squishy, buttery. Yes, these are good. Very good.

Next up is a maple recipe that isn’t sweet! Wait for it . . .

Lorinda

Caramel Candy Corn

I’m working my way through some caramel recipe ideas that have been keeping me awake at night, and it hasn’t been a hardship for me at all; I love caramel! I don’t think I’ve ever met a bowl of caramel corn that I didn’t like, and this is no exception. Of course, I also love candy corn. If you’re not a fan (and I know there are some of you out there) you can substitute something else that screams “Fall” to you. Maybe Reeses Pieces? M&Ms? Black licorice? (Haha, got you there. Black licorice would be gross. I think. Hmm.)

I like lots of nuts in my caramel corn, so I used a generous amount of peanuts. Any nuts would be good, though. They have a tendency to stay at the bottom of the pan, so do try to encourage them to mingle with the popcorn. Of course, if you remember what Cracker Jack was like, the peanuts (all two of them) were always at the bottom of the box. Rebels!

A drizzle of melted white, yellow, and orange candy melts added to the festive autumn theme. Go lightly with melted white chocolate; it can overwhelm the flavor of the caramel, and you wouldn’t want to do that!

I use little pastry bags and melt the white chocolate in a glass of hot water. No mess!

The recipe calls for 4 quarts of popcorn, which may sound like a lot, but believe me—it really isn’t. This stuff has a tendency to disappear before your very eyes, and it stores well in an airtight container. I used mushroom popcorn because I wanted the big, round, fluffy kernels.

Speaking of recipes, do you see how short this one is? That’s because this is EASY. And oh, so satisfying. Do it! Seriously, just do it!

Caramel Candy Corn
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 quarts popped corn
  • 1 cup peanuts (or any nut you like)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 10 each: white, yellow, and orange candy melts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Grease a really large pot or bowl. (I use coconut oil.) Put popcorn and nuts in the pot and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Lightly grease a 12x18x2" cake pan - or two 9x12" pans. Set aside.
  3. Heat oven to 225 F.
  4. In a large saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, honey, water, and salt over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Drop heat to medium-low. Adjust as necessary to keep mixture gently boiling for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and baking soda and pour over the popcorn and nuts. Stir well.
  6. Scoop into the prepared baking pan(s) and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and stir in the candy corn. Dump out onto a piece of parchment or foil and allow caramel corn to cool completely.
  8. Melt each color of candy melt separately - either in small dishes in the microwave or by putting candy in small pastry bags or zip-type bags in a glass of hot water. (Don't let water touch the candy or it will seize up.) Drizzle over caramel corn. Let the drizzle harden before storing or serving.

Putting together the ingredients for the caramel.

Boil for 5 minutes without stirring

The baking soda will foam up. Just give it a few good stirs and pour it over the popcorn and nuts.

Stir hot caramel into popcorn

Spread into greased pan and bake.

I got this in just under the wire because tomorrow is October and I’m moving on . . . to maple. No pumpkin spice here, folks. We’re going for Maple Madness!

Lorinda

 

Caramel Rose Pecan Cupcakes

Celebrate fall with these luscious cupcakes filled with caramel, pecan, and cream cheese. Adding a drizzle of caramel and an elegant caramel rose will create a perfect dessert for the upcoming holidays.

The cupcakes are delicious, but let’s not pretend that they’re the focus here. It’s the rose. It’s all about the rose!

Believe it or not, the roses are very simple to make. All you’ll need is a bag of caramels, a sturdy rolling pin, a small round cutter, and parchment paper. I was blown away by how easy it was to work with caramels. They aren’t sticky, they don’t dry out when you’re playing with them, and they stretch and curl obligingly when you want them to. They stay pliable and . . . well . . . edible, unlike gum paste or candy clay.

And the cake itself is very basic. If your inclination is to reach for a boxed mix, I understand. But if you’d like to try your hand at making a cake from scratch, this would be the recipe to use. You’d have to add eggs, butter, and water to the mix; why not add just a few more ingredients, make the cake from scratch, and avoid the additives that are in packaged mixes?

Compare!

I think the hardest thing about this recipe is unwrapping the caramels, but if I can do it YOU can do it! Speaking of caramels, do you remember when Kraft had chocolate caramels, too? They’re back. Hard to find, but I just ordered some online. I’ll bet they’d make lovely roses too.

An 11-ounce bag will give you about 40 caramels. You’ll use 22 for the roses, and the remaining 18 for the filling. (Good grief, don’t sweat it if you’re short a caramel or two. You have to check to make sure they’re fresh, right?)

So, you’ll start out with the filling, then make the cake batter. You can create the roses while the cupcakes are baking, and make the frosting once they have cooled. And you know the drill: boxed cake, canned frosting, leave out the filling . . . anything goes. Simple chocolate cupcakes with fudge icing would look great with the roses too. Just make sure you make the roses!

First, the cupcake recipe:

Caramel Rose Pecan Cupcakes
Print
Author:
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes.
Ingredients
  • FILLING:
  • 18 unwrapped caramels
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (toasted for the best flavor)
  • CAKE:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups cake flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Buttercream icing (or icing of your choice)
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the caramels and cream, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar thoroughly. Add egg yolk and beat well.
  3. Once the caramel is lukewarm but still fluid, add to cream cheese mixture. Beat well. Stir in chopped pecans. Set aside.
  4. Heat oven to 350 F. Place 18 paper liners in cupcake pans.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - at least 2 minutes.
  6. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl between each egg.
  7. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  8. Add half of the flour mixture the butter mixture. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half of the milk. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat.
  9. Fill cupcake liners halfway. Don't add too much; you need to leave room for filling. If you have extra batter, make another cupcake or two.
  10. Using a tablespoon, place a scant spoonful of filling in each cup, using the spoon to make a small depression in the batter before scooping the filling into the center. The filling will still show on top, but this will help some of it to sink into the cupcake.
  11. Bake for approximately 24 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Test with a toothpick, making sure to insert on the side of the cupcake, away from the gooey center.
  12. Cool thoroughly before icing and decorating.

Just follow the instructions; you can’t go wrong!

I’m going to cut right to the caramel rose directions.

  1. Use a large piping tip, or a cap from a bottle of water or a milk carton—whatever you can find that’s round and approximately 1 inch across—to cut out the caramel circles.
  2. I found that working with one caramel at a time is easiest. Place it between sheets of parchment and roll out thin. You should be able to cut 4 circles out of it with a reasonable amount of leftover scraps. (Pile them up and roll them out later.)
  3. In the picture below, the pieces of caramel in the background are round. That’s because I put each one in a tortilla press. It made it a little easier to roll out that way but isn’t necessary at all. And I’m still scratching my head about the fact that I put a square caramel in the press (between sheets of parchment) and it flattened the caramel into a perfect circle. WTH?
  4. Cut one circle at a time and pop it out of the cutter. If you let them stack up in there, they’re a real bear to separate. I know this for a fact! This would be a fun activity for kids to do and allow you to go right to the fun part of forming roses. It takes 9 rounds to make a rose.
  5. Set your finished roses on the counter (uncovered) or in a mini-tart pan for a little more support. If the rose flattens, just fluff it back out.

Cut out 1-inch circles. (The rounds in the background still need to be rolled out.)

Roll one circle to make the center. Overlap 3 petals around the center. Overlap 5 petals for the outside layer, pulling edges thin and curling down if desired. Petals can be shaped and enlarged before wrapping or after, whichever is easiest. (If you want to have enough caramel for a few leaves, you can cut some of that stem off and add it to the scraps.)

They’re your roses; make them 7 petals instead of 9 if you want. Play with the shapes of the petals. Make some big ones, some small. Play with your food! If you have any leftover caramel, a few leaves make the cupcake even prettier.

Use your favorite icing. I made a basic buttercream for this batch.

I had so much fun making these, and I’ll bet you will too. The roses would be perfect on individual brownies. Or chocolate cookies. Or . . . well, I’ll leave something to your imagination.

Lorinda

 

Four-Cheese Zucchini Puffs

If you grow zucchini or know anyone who does, chances are you have a few hanging around in your fridge, or you stashed bags of grated zucchini in your freezer. Or maybe you’ll want to put your coat on and run to the store right now because this is now my official, absolute, no-holds-barred favorite zucchini recipe!

Granted, the flaky pastry might have something to do with my passion for these little puffs (you could probably fill them with cat food and I’d still love them), but the cheesy zucchini filling was so savory and delectable that I was hooked with one bite. 

I considered adding ham, onions, olives, or chopped chicken breast—all of which I think would be delicious, but in this case, I wanted to appreciate the pastries in their simplest form. And I appreciated them a lot. A whole lot.

Rough puff pastry is so easy. It really is! It takes a little time because you chill it several times between the rolling/folding action, but making the dough is simple. You dump flour and salt on a work surface, chop cold butter into it, fold in cold water, and then roll and fold . . . many times. See? Easy and fun!

I make mine the day before because I think it has more flavor that way. Take it out of the fridge to soften 30 minutes before you plan to make the puffs.

Yes, yes, I’m using that potsticker press again. I’m getting a lot of mileage out of that little gadget. If you don’t have one, you can do it the old-fashioned way, with a fork.

And I do want to mention that a few of these will—in spite of your valiant efforts with egg white and potsticker press—ooze. What a horrid word. I tried to find a more appealing description but failed. It’s cheese; it oozes! But you know what? That crispy blob of cheese on the baking sheet is the best part as far as I’m concerned. 

 

Four-Cheese Zucchini Puffs
Print
Author:
Makes 20-24 For best results, make the dough several hours before you plan to serve. The day before is even better!
Ingredients
  • PASTRY:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt (add ¼ t additional salt if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) COLD butter
  • ⅔ cup very cold water
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, firmly packed (about 1 small zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 ounces mozzarella (the soft, fresh kind if possible)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence (or herbs of choice)
  • Pinch of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used Panko, but any kind will do.)
  • ASSEMBLY:
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Instructions
  1. PASTRY:
  2. Place flour on work surface. Mix in the salt.
  3. Cut cold butter into small cubes - about ½ inch square. Chop into flour mixture using a long spatula, knife, or bench scraper. Don't overwork the mixture - you should see chunks of butter larger than a pea.
  4. Drizzle cold water over flour and butter with one hand while tossing with a spatula in the other hand. Use the spatula to scrape the messy dough into a rectangle about 5" x 8", with the short edge facing you. Lightly flour the work surface as needed.
  5. Using a rolling pin, press and gently roll until dough is approximately 7" x 10". It will be very crumbly. Don't panic, it will come together! Use a spatula or bench scraper to lift the bottom of the dough so that the bottom edge is two-thirds of the way up. Lift and fold the top down until the top edge is at the bottom. The dough has just been folded into three equal layers. Give it a turn to the left. Repeat three more times. By the last roll and fold, it should look like dough.
  6. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and repeat the roll/fold/fold/turn procedure three times. Return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  8. Again, remove dough from refrigerator and repeat the roll/fold/fold/turn procedure three times. Return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. (If dough has been chilled for more than 1 hour, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before making puffs.)
  9. NOTE: While the dough is chilling you can make the filling and refrigerate it until needed.
  10. FILLING:
  11. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute, or until softened. Remove from heat.
  12. Add the cheeses. Stir well. If cheese isn't melted, you can heat it on low or simply knead the mixture together. Stir in the seasonings and breadcrumbs. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  13. ASSEMBLY:
  14. Heat oven to 400 F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment
  15. With the short end of the dough facing you, and the open edge of dough on the right (like a book), cut across the middle, creating two squares. Working with one at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a long rectangle, 9" x 21".
  16. Using a 4-inch cutter, cut 10 circles. Stack scraps flat in a pile and set aside. Place one circle at a time in potsticker press (or leave flat on work surface if using a fork to seal the puffs) and brush a little egg white around the edge. Put 2 level teaspoons of filling in the center and press firmly to close, or use a fork to seal.
  17. Place at least 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Brush lightly with egg white (a paper towel dipped in the egg white works well) and poke the top of the puff once with a fork.
  18. Repeat with remaining dough. Roll all of the scraps at once. Cut as many circles as possible and discard the remaining dough. (Or just pile loosely on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar before baking!)
  19. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until puffs are a light golden brown. Move to a cooling rack. Best eaten warm.

Chop the butter into the flour. (That’s Irish butter – so yellow!!)

Drizzle with one hand and toss with the other.

Corral it into a rectangle and roll it out. I know it’s a mess; just keep rolling!

The first “fold”. Make an attempt to lift the bottom edge up two-thirds of the way.

And then fold the top down over the bottom to create three equal layers. Ugly shaggy layers. It’ll get better, I promise.

Repeat three times and you’ll end up with dough! See the small butter pockets? That’s okay. They’ll blend in eventually. Chill for 30 minutes, then repeat and repeat. The rolling and folding just take a few quick minutes.

Grate the zucchini

Saute briefly in olive oil

Add the cheese.

Add breadcrumbs and seasoning. Stir.

Work with half at a time.

Roll out thin and cut 4-inch circles

Brush edge of rounds with egg white and put filling in the center. Press firmly, using a potsticker press. (Or you can fold it and use a fork.)

Brush with egg white and poke a fork in the top, then bake

Scraps should be stacked flat and rolled all at once. (One time only.)

I used lots of pictures and probably too many words; making these melt-in-your-mouth treasures is a lot easier than it appears. Remember that if you’re making these for a party or guests, the dough can be made several days ahead of time, making the assembly go very quickly.

I may be adding a couple more zucchini plants to my garden next year. You might want to grow a few too!

Enjoy.

Lorinda

Garlic Frittelle (Italian Dinner Doughnuts)

Dinner doughnuts! That’s what my husband dubbed these after one blissful bite. This simple fried bread has a garlic butter and parmesan center that is flavorful but not overwhelming. It soaks into the bread a bit as it fries so you aren’t faced with butter dripping down your chin. (Never a good thing.)

I’m all about texture, preferring my bread crispy and crackly, but the chewy crust on these puffy rolls was delightful, contrasting nicely with the soft, buttery bread inside. I considered adding chopped pepperoni to the filling, but . . . well . . . I didn’t have any. Garlic, however, is something I have lots and lots of, so I made the most of it. Next time I may try the pepperoni, or maybe some sun-dried tomatoes.

Sorting garlic.

I’m not going to lie to you here; these are probably not on anyone’s diet. That’s all I’m going to say about that!

I use a potsticker press because it seals the dough nicely and makes it easy to work with. Keep it lightly floured for best results. (You can buy these online for just a few dollars, and they come in hand for all kinds of recipes.) If you don’t have one, just fold the circle over on the filling and press the edge firmly with a fork. Looks really don’t matter, because they’re just going to puff up into potato-like shapes. Who cares, when they taste the way they do?

Once fried you can leave them as they are, or you can brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with coarse salt and a little cheese. I waited too long to do this and my cheese wasn’t very cooperative, defiantly refusing to melt. A few seconds under the broiler took care of that. Hah!

In my usual “go big or go home” approach, this recipe makes a whopping 24 rolls. The recipe can easily be cut in half, or you can freeze some for another time. (I vote for just eating them hand over fist.) Besides, if you’re going to go to the trouble to deep fry, you might as well go for the gusto.

They’re also good the next day, especially if you warm them up a little.

Garlic Frittelle (Italian Dinner Doughnuts)
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • Filling:
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened (if using unsalted, add an additional ¼ t.salt)
  • 1 generous tablespoon (3-4 cloves) garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese (more to taste)
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Bread:
  • 2½ cups very warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 5 cups bread flour (more for dusting work surface)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • oil for frying (I use peanut oil, but canola or safflower are also good options.)
  • melted butter and grated cheese if desired to top hot rolls
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. In a large bowl (a stand mixer with a dough hook is best) combine water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over it and let it sit for 5 minutes. (It won't foam a lot, but as long as your yeast is fresh, it will do its job.)
  3. Add flour and beat until well-combined.
  4. Add olive oil. Continue to knead by machine for 5 minutes, or drop dough onto floured surface and knead by hand for 7-8 minutes. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
  5. Cover and allow the bread to rise for 1 hour.
  6. Working with half the dough at a time, roll it out on a floured board ¼-inch thick. Cut with a large round cutter - about 3½ inches across. Place 1 generous teaspoon of garlic mixture on each round of dough and press in half, using a lightly floured potsticker press (or fold the dough over the mixture and press firmly around the edge with a fork).
  7. Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 375 F. Fry a few at a time, turning once, until rich golden brown - just a few minutes. Place between sheets of paper towel to absorb extra oil.
  8. Brush hot rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt and shredded cheese if desired.

Add oil and knead.

Dough will be soft and slightly sticky but should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Roll and cut

Place dough and filling in the press. (Or just fold over, if you don’t have a press.)

Press gently. The dough is soft and will stick together.

Fry, baby. Fry!

They may LOOK like potatoes, but trust me – inside that chewy crust is soft, pillowy bread and a pop of garlic goodness.

Precious little fat bombs, how I love you! Hey, garlic’s healthy, right? Serve them with a huge salad and call it good, folks.

Lorinda

 

Strawberry Daiquiri Cheesecake Cones

It’s August and I’m fighting triple-digit weather with something sweet, frozen, and slightly boozy. I needed this! These sugar cones are filled with an indulgent combination of cream cheese, strawberries, whipping cream, and rum . . . and sugar, of course. I call them “Cheesecake Cones” even though I know it’s not really cheesecake; this is more like a cream cheese fruit fluff. Whatever it is, it’s good—and though the chocolate shell coating might melt in the heat, the rest of it won’t drip down your arm like ice cream. 

 

See? This cone sat patiently through a photo shoot but never got drippy. I’d also like to go on record here: I am very casual about a lot of things, but I have a problem with food photos where someone has actually taken a bite out of the item. I don’t know why, but that kinda grosses me out. But . . . I tried breaking through the shell with a spoon and it just made a huge mess, so under the circumstances, I made an exception. I bit into this baby, and I’m not one bit sorry. Yum!

Yes, they take a little time to make—but mostly because they go in and out of the freezer a few times, which hopefully won’t be a deal-breaker for you. The only freezer I have with any space in it is out in the back of the garage, so I had to run back and forth (did I mention it’s hot as Hades out there?) but it was totally worth it, because now I have a stash of cones out there just waiting for the next craving to hit. Three, two, one . . .

Oh, and if you’re going to freeze them for very long, I found that small disposable pastry bags were perfect to protect each cone from freezer burn.

Small pastry bags are perfect for storage! Just add a twist-tie.

 

This recipe will make twelve smallish sugar cones. If you buy the big hurkin’ ones, it will probably make nine or so. But honestly, even with my raging sweet tooth, the small ones are just right.

I bought a cone stand (I know, I know) but you can easily make one by cutting holes or starbursts into a deep, sturdy box—like this:

Make your own cone holder.

Use dark chocolate or white chocolate (both are deeeeelicious). The cone will also be coated inside with whichever flavor you choose, to keep the cone from getting soggy if you don’t eat them straight out of the freezer.

For the picture at the top of the post, I used Green & Black’s white chocolate which has vanilla in it, giving it a more caramel color. For a lighter color, I tried Ghiradelli (using a 4-ounce baking bar and 4 ounces of Ghiradelli melts) which was pretty and very tasty. If you want the coating to be bright white, try Wilton candy melts.

The Ghiradelli bar is lighter colored, but the Green & Black’s? Scrumptious!

I used white rum. It was pretty subtle (there’s only so much you can add without compromising the texture), so if you want a lot of rum flavor, use dark rum or add a few drops of rum extract. AND, if you’re making these for the kids, just skip the rum entirely, and maybe add a mashed banana. Yum!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cones
Print
Author:
Makes 12 cones
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries (about 12 oz)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup rum
  • 1 packet (7g) Knox gelatin
  • 12 sugar cones
  • 8 ounces chocolate - white or dark
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. For best results, use a cone stand. You can make one by cutting holes in a deep, sturdy box.
  2. Place chopped berries, sugar, and rum in a small bowl. Cover and let it sit for 1 hour. Strain, mashing berries gently against the sieve. Save the liquid! Blot the berries thoroughly between paper towels.
  3. Measure ¼ cup of the berry juice into a small cup. Sprinkle with gelatin and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Transfer gelatin to a small pot and whisk on low heat until mixture is fairly clear. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of berry juice. Stir until warm and all gelatin is dissolved. (Discard remaining juice or use it in a cocktail!) Add the berries and let the gelatin mixture cool and thicken. To speed this up you can put the pan in cold water bath. If you refrigerate it, watch closely; you want it thick, but not set like Jello.
  4. In a small pot or microwave-safe bowl, slowly melt chocolate and coconut oil together. Use the lowest heat and stir often if melting on the stove, or at 15-second increments in the microwave. Stir well!
  5. Drop 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate mixture into each cone. Use a pastry brush or gloved finger to spread evenly inside the cones. Place upright in refrigerator or freezer to harden. Set remaining chocolate mixture aside.
  6. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Stir in the thickened berry mixture.
  7. In a small bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold gently but thoroughly into the cream cheese mixture.
  8. Fill each cone level with the top. Place cones in the freezer. Put the remaining filling in the refrigerator to firm up (at least 1 hour).
  9. Remove cones from the freezer and put a scoop of berry mixture onto each, using a knife if necessary to smooth it down to touch the top of the cone. Return to freezer for an additional hour. (Longer is fine.)
  10. Place chocolate mixture in a large mug or small, deep bowl. (If chocolate has hardened, warm gently, stirring often.) Dip each cone, allowing excess to drip back into bowl before turning upright. Quickly add sprinkles if desired.
  11. Freeze until ready to serve. Each cone may be individually wrapped. Small disposable pastry bags work well for this!

Combine chopped strawberries, sugar, and rum. (I used superfine sugar but regular is okay.)

Strain the berries. Keep that juice!

Blot thoroughly

Sprinkle gelatin on 1/4 cup of the strawberry juice

Whisk the bloomed gelatin over low heat

Whisk in 1/2 cup strawberry/rum juice and heat gently. If you have any leftover juice, make a cocktail! (Hint: add to a glass of Prosecco.)

Add berries. Allow mixture to cool and thicken.

Coat the inside with chocolate of your choice. A brush works well. A finger works better (yes, yes, wear a glove if you insist). Chill or freeze.

Coated in white chocolate and ready to fill

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir in the thickened berry mixture.

Whip the cream until very stiff peaks form. (Stop short of making butter!) Fold into cream cheese mixture.

Fill the cones JUST to the top. Freeze while the remaining mixture thickens in the fridge

After chilling, scoop onto the cones. Freeze AGAIN. At least 1 hour; more is better.

Dip and sprinkle

Or go with dark chocolate!

 

I’ve made five batches of these now. Gave away a bunch, and have some stored in the freezer. I may also have some hidden in a broccoli bag in the freezer for security reasons. Shhhh.

Lorinda

Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars

There’s no gluten, dairy, or processed sugar in these energy bars. In fact, no grain at all. My son spends a lot of time in the woods and wanted me to come up with something that could withstand being tossed in a backpack, but he didn’t want any sweetener or grains. (I know. I think he was a changeling, I really do.) I lobbied for a small amount of honey to make the bars sturdier but kept it to a minimum. And do you know what? These are good! Really good. The chia and honey work together to glue all the yummy nuts and seeds together. I also added some dried cranberries and blueberries.

For my first attempt, I used a three-seed mix of chia, hemp, and flax. There wasn’t enough chia to hold it all together well, so I tried again, added more chia, and got it right.

Baking times may vary a little, depending on how thin you spread the mixture, and on your oven. My oven doesn’t hold heat once it’s turned off. It has a fan that blows the heat out, which is a little annoying when I try to make meringues or crackers (things that I want to dry out slowly). So you may have to play with the timing a bit. I also wanted these pretty dry and crunchy; you can give them a shorter bake time if you want them softer.

You’ll probably want to hit a natural-foods market for ingredients. The recipe uses quite a variety, and you can usually buy small amounts in bulk there. Of course, once you’ve tried these you may go back for larger quantities.

Nuts, seeds, fruit, and honey

Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars
Print
Author:
Makes 20 large bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup flax seed (or flax/hemp combination)
  • 4 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds)
  • ½ cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and blueberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Cover a large baking sheet with an 11½ x 16" Silpat (or parchment)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the water and honey.
  3. Add seeds and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It should get thick.
  4. Add nuts and fruit and stir well.
  5. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet, It will tend to get thicker in the middle, so try to smooth it out so the edges are the same thickness.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the bars over. (Either place another silpat and a baking sheet on top and flip the whole thing over, then cut into desired sizes - or cut into bars and flip each one over. Return to oven.
  7. Reduce heat to 250 F. and bake for an additional hour. Without opening the door, turn off the oven and let the bars sit until cool. (They should be firm. If not, you can bake for additional time at 250 F.)

Stir seeds into water and honey. Let them thicken up!

Add nuts and fruit and stir well

Spread evenly onto silpat or parchment

You may want to have another baking sheet ready. After it’s baked for 30 minutes, it needs to be flipped over. You can place another baking sheet on top and flip (then cut bars and put it back in the oven) or cut bars and flip each one over before returning to the oven. Whichever seems easiest to you. I’m a “flip the whole mess over at once” kinda gal.

See? Wasn’t that easy? Now you can have a healthy snack whenever you need a pick-me-up. Put this on your calendar, because you won’t see something like this on my blog very often.

 

 

Two-bite Huckleberry Cheesecakes

Sweet and tangy, these cute little mini-cheesecakes are perfect for a summer party. Serve them frozen on a hot day and watch them disappear!

Huckleberries are ripe right now, and I’m in heaven. There’s just nothing to compare to these flavorful berries. There is, however, an almost-as-good option if you don’t have access to huckleberries. Wild Maine blueberries are very similar. I bought frozen wild blueberries at the grocery store and they were delicious and reasonable. With fresh huckleberries going for $50-60 a gallon here, if I couldn’t pick them myself, I’d go for the frozen option!

Loaded with cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped topping, you’d think these little cheesecakes would be crazy-rich, but they truly aren’t. The combination of textures and the addition of lemon to the berry topping helps to confuse you into thinking you can eat twenty of these. I should know.

This may look sweet and innocent, but it will actually lure you into “just one more”.

And speaking of whipped topping, I really don’t like to use it. I much prefer real whipped cream. But I tried this with whipping cream, and the little bites were softer . . . pretty messy if you didn’t eat them the second they came out of the freezer. So I caved. I have one more cream cheese recipe coming up soon (it’s a doozy!) and I promise to use the real stuff in that one.

Have you ever used agar-agar? The berry topping can be thickened using cornstarch or agar-agar. I tried both and liked the agar-agar version slightly better. The topping reminded me a little bit of cranberry sauce (kind of gelatinous) while the cornstarch topping was more jam-like, but both were very tasty. The recipe below will call for cornstarch because it’s what most people have in their cupboard, but if you’d like to use agar-agar powder, simply add the lemon juice and water to the cooked berries and then whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of agar-agar powder. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Top the cheesecakes while the mixture is still warm because it will set up quickly once it cools. If it gets too thick at any point, gently reheat it.

Two-bite Huckleberry Cheesecakes
Print
Author:
Makes 48 mini-cheesecakes.
Ingredients
  • CRUST:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7 double crackers) finely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • BERRY TOPPING:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2½ cups fresh huckleberries (or use fresh or frozen wild Maine blueberries)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • FILLING:
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 8-oz tub thawed whipped topping, divided
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Prepare the mini tart pans by placing a small paper liner in each cavity. (48 liners in all.)
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl. Divide between the 48 liners - about 1 teaspoon in each. Tamp down well with a shot glass or tart tamper. Bake for 9 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.
  3. In a small cup, whisk together the water, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In a medium pot, stir together the berries and sugar. Heat on medium-low until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon (letting the liquid drip back into the pan) scoop 2 tablespoons of berries into a small dish and set aside.
  6. Slowly whisk cornstarch mixture into bubbling berry mixture and continue to cook at a low boil until thick - about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. In a small pan on low heat (or in the microwave), gently heat 1 tablespoon heavy cream and white chocolate until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  8. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese well. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  9. Add sour cream, melted white chocolate, and 2 tablespoons reserved cooked berries. Mix until combined.
  10. Fold in 2 cups of whipped topping, reserving the remaining cup for decorating.
  11. Fill each liner about ¾ full, leaving a little room for the berry topping. You can spoon the filling into the liners or use a pastry bag or heavy plastic bag with the tip cut off to squeeze it in.
  12. Check the berry topping to make sure it isn't hot. Warm is fine. Spoon over the filling in each liner.
  13. Freeze until ready to serve. Top with whipped topping and a berry, if desired.

Tamp down the crust and bake. If you don’t have a tart tamper, use a shot glass!

I use a pastry bag to fill them. Leave room for topping!

Add the berry topping and freeze

So if you live on the east or west coast, get a can of bear spray and head for the hills to harvest huckleberries or wild blueberries. If you’re stuck elsewhere, look in the freezer section of any large grocery store. Our health food section has a separate freezer section, and they have organic wild Maine blueberries. Score!

Before I post my last (for now) cheesecake recipe, I’ve actually been working on a healthy treat. Yes, yes, you heard that right. Check back in soon . . . or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss this rare occurrence!

Lorinda

No Bake Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Each summer when our grandkids are visiting, we make a festive dessert. Oh, there’s always lots of chopping, cooking, and baking going on during that week, but we like to create one special sweet treat. This year we made a no-bake raspberry cheesecake for the 4th of July. Well . . . we baked the crust, but that’s all. We intended to add some blueberries to make it red, white, and blue, but we forgot. (It gets a little crazy around here with so many people in the kitchen.)

There are three steps to this dessert: topping, crust, and filling. It really won’t take that long, and if my grandkids can make this without whining, you can too!

 

Of course, I winged it and didn’t write down exact measurements. We were in a hurry (great-grandma was coming to visit) and slam-dunked it. You probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I just guessed my way through the recipe, so now that the kids have gone back to California (sob) it was carefully re-created and documented . . .  and it turned out beautifully. I added lemon zest to the cheesecake the second time around and loved the subtle flavor.

And I even cleaned up as I went! Mark that down on your calendar, because it will probably never happen again. Who knows what possessed me – but it’s awfully nice to sit here working on this blog without seeing a mess out of the corner of my eye. I understand that some people actually do this regularly. Huh. Go figure.

Do you know what I really, really miss? Raspberry ripple ice cream. Just can’t find it anywhere. This immediately reminded me of that childhood treat . . . sweet nostalgia!

If you don’t have a springform pan, you can always make a couple of deep dish pies instead, using the same steps.

No Bake Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
Print
Author:
You will need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. (It could also be made in two deep-dish pie pans.) Plan ahead; this cheesecake is best if it's refrigerated overnight.
Ingredients
  • BERRY TOPPING:
  • 18 ounces fresh raspberries (about 3 cups, plus a few for decorating)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • CRUST:
  • 2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (about 1½ sleeves)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • FILLING:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 ounces white chocolate (chips or candy melts are fine)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 8-ounce tub of whipped topping, thawed
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Lightly butter the sides of a 9-inch springform pan and place a round of parchment on the bottom.
  2. In a small dish, combine the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir well and set aside.
  3. If desired, remove and refrigerate 9 of the nicest berries to use later for decorating. In a medium pan on medium heat, bring the remaining berries, sugar, and salt to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the pan. Cook and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into the prepared pan evenly, going halfway up the sides of the pan. (A straight-sided measuring cup works well for pressing crust up the sides.)
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
  7. In a small pan on very low heat (or in a microwave at 15-second intervals) combine the cream and white chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
  8. In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  9. Add the powdered sugar and beat well.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, and white chocolate mixture. Beat well.
  11. By hand, stir in the whipped topping, just until incorporated.
  12. Put half of the filling in the pie crust, spreading it to the sides. Don't smooth it; hills and valleys will make the raspberry swirl look prettier.
  13. Check the raspberry mixture. Warm is fine, but if it's still hot, place the pan in a larger pan of cold water and stir. Drizzle ⅓ cup of the raspberry mixture over the filling in the pan. Cover with remaining filling and swirl gently, avoiding the crust.
  14. Smooth the top, making it as level as possible. Pour the remaining raspberry topping over the cheesecake, cover with foil, and chill overnight.
  15. If desired, decorate with whipped cream rosettes and the reserved raspberries.

Add sugar and a pinch of salt to rinsed raspberries and boil gently for 3 minutes

Combine cornstarch, lemon juice, and water

Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling berries. Stir until thickened.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.

Press into prepared pan and bake

Melt together the cream and white chocolate. Let it cool a little.

Add powdered sugar to whipped cream cheese

Add lemon and melted chocolate to the mixture

Stir in the whipped topping

Add half of the filling (don’t level it . . . leave it “gloppy”) and drizzle with 1/3 cup berry mixture

Cover with remaining filling

Swirl gently. (You don’t want to disturb that crust!)

Level the top (a small offset spatula works well) all the way to the edge. Add remaining berry mixture and smooth with a clean spatula.

Decorate with whipped cream and raspberries, or let it go au naturel.

It doesn’t really NEED adornment. I like mine straight.

 

In case you’re wondering, this is delicious when frozen, too! Trust me, I know. And it’s easier to cut and serve. Just take it from the freezer and let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.

Lorinda