Brownie cupcakes with Dulce de Leche

No this is not a Russian or Ukrainian desert. Although dulce de leche is cooked condensed milk, used very often in Russian/Ukrainian deserts. I was reading a new favorite blog girlsguidetobutter.com, and her recipe of “Ree’s Baked Fudge Meets David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies”, inspired me to create my own. After reading Ree’s recipe, David Lebovitz’s recipe and Sofya’s recipe I decided to give it a try on my own. I wanted to make it easy to transport because I was going to take it to work with me. I decided on making brownie cupcake bites and chose a super simple recipe from Martha Stuart.
Here is what you will need for my version of this delicious dessert:

Martha Stuarts Everyday Food, Super-Fudgy Brownies

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan

1 Cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/4 Cups sugar

3 Large eggs

Dulce De Leche

1 Can 14 oz Sweetened condensed milk

Before you start the brownies you will need to make the dulce de leche. Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a small pot. Fill completely with water. Place over medium heat and let the condensed milk cook for 2 hours. The water will evaporate so add water when needed so the can is always covered. When the two hours are over, take the can out of the water and let it cool before opening.

While the can is cooling start on the brownies.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

According to Martha Stuart recipe:

“Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan.

Add sugar; mix to combine.

Add eggs, and mix to combine.

Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix).”

I was not very patient with my chocolate and butter and took it to the microwave. It worked out perfectly.

Take paper cupcake liners and line your cupcake pan. Scoop up the brownie mix with a ice-cream scoop (about 1/4 cup) and place into the cupcake pan.

Open the can of cooked condensed milk.

Place a heaping tablespoon into each individual “cupcake”.

I tried to swirl the dulce de leche into the brownie batter

Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

After reading all the different recipes I hope you find one that works for you!

Soooo good!!!

Ukrainian Rose Petal Preserves

I just love love love roses! They are beautiful, they smell wonderful, and I learned they taste great!

My mother found this recipe in a really old Ukrainian cookbook that she brought with her from Ukraine. It’s a fragrant and delicate preserve with four simple ingredients. It’s really easy to make. Give it a chance and you’ll be surprised at how delicious roses can be.

Ingredients:

1 Cup rose petals

*For me it was about 11 roses, make sure to press down or squish the petals down so it’s truly 1 cup. They also need to be organic, home grown, fragrant roses. The long stemmed roses from the store will not work.

2 Cups sugar

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 Cup water

Remove the petals from the rose. I found that my moms roses had a few pincher bugs hiding inside. DO NOT COOK WITH BUGS. I found that shaking them out did the trick. Once I took off the petals I examined each one to make sure it did not have any defects or bugs on it. After 11 roses I finally had my 1 cup.

I also had a few rejects.

Remove the yellow end or the part where the rose petal connects to the flower.

Wash the rose petals with water.

Combine water with sugar in a medium sauce pan. Turn the burner to medium high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. The water will become clear. Add lemon juice and stir.

Add all of the rose petals and lower the heat to low.

Le the rose petal water come to a slow boil.  The rose petals will slowly start to become clear.

Stir frequently. Cook for 1 hour.

I cooked on low heat for about 1 hour 15 minutes and that extra 15 minutes made the rose petals more tender and the preserve thicker. If you have the patience use that extra 15 minutes.

Rose petals will become clear and sauce will be thick. Don’t worry if you see some color from the rose petals. Even when you place them in your jar it will continue cooking.

Because I knew that my jar will be empty within a week (and it was), I didn’t take any extra measures with jarring my preserve. I simply transferred from saucepan to jar with a table-spoon and closed it until the preserve cooled. Of course I managed to get some in my mouth and burn my tounge (it was worth it).

It is so delicious. It works great with slices of baguette or french bread or toast. Or if you’re like me I just ate by the spoonful.

Oh sooo good!

Easy Bar-B-Q Pulled Pork

I know this is not Russian or Ukrainian. But it’s a great dinner idea and it’s super easy to make! And it tastes great too! Andrey actually told me that he could eat this all day.

Here’s what you need:

1 Bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

1-2lb Port chops, pork loin or pork roast (cut into smaller pieces)

Slow cooker!

Put the pork into your slow cooker. I have just a little simple one that was gifted to me for my wedding 7 years ago. Still works!

Pour the entire bottle of barbecue sauce on top of the meat.

One of Andrey's favorite BBQ sauces and very inexpensive

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. The longer it cooks the softer the meat and the easier it is to pull apart.

When the meat is done cooking I take 2 forks and start pulling apart the meat. The picture above is the result.

To stay somewhat on the healthy side I chose whole wheat hamburger buns and toasted them. I topped them with the pulled pork (about 2-3 tablespoons). I like my sandwich with tomato.

For the side I decided on sweet potato fries that I baked in the oven following Martha Stewart’s recipe.

So easy…soooo good!

Enjoy!

Shem-Pop Delicacies

Recently I’ve discovered a great talent around me. My cousin Lily, who’s mom is an amazing cook and baker has also taken on baking. Lily and her friend Vicka make the most amazing cakes, cupcakes and other delicacies. Check out their album on facebook. If you live in the Sacramento California area contact them at shem-popdelicacies@hotmail.com to place an order or find out more information.

My plan now is to get together with them…bake…and give you the recipe!

Mother’s Day!

Sunday was Mother’s Day so Happy Late Mother’s Day! But isn’t it mother’s day everyday for all mothers out there? At least once a year there’s a day dedicated for it. Unfortunately I had to work on mothers day but fortunately I had my mom and sisters over for tea and cake in the late evening. It was so nice to have them over and have a little girl talk. And thanks Andrey (my husband) that hung in there to enjoy the tea and cake with us. I thought about using little dainty tea cups and saucers but with the amount of tea my family drinks I opted for large coffee mugs. I think my sister refilled hers 3 times throughout the evening!

 For my tea party I took inspiration for the recipes from Natasha’s Kitchen food blog. She is amazing and so are her recipes!

The mini tea sandwiches were Aunt Anna’s Canapes

And the cake was a combination of THREE different cakes. Yes it was a little crazy and a little daring. Plus I have never made anything like it before. I used my mother in laws recipe and directions for Russian biskvit cake. From Natasha’s kitchen I used the whipped cream cheese frosting and the syrup. I got the idea for cherries from another one of her cakes. My cake turned out delicious!

My sisters made

The cupcake were so yummy and buttery. What a great recipe. I have to incorporate this into a cake. Any ideas?

Here is the recipe for my mother-in-laws biskvit cake mix:

6 Eggs

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup all purpose flour

1 Tsp vanilla extract

Frozen black cherries, defrosted

In a large bowl mix together the eggs and one cup sugar. Use a hand mixer or stand alone (probably easier) to beat the eggs and sugar untill light and fluffy. Add vanilla and flour. Slowly incorporate into the eggs and sugar. This was the first time I had even made the cake and I just could not get the fluffiness I needed for the eggs. My mother in law said (over the phone) I should add a little more sugar untill it starts working. I ended up adding additional 3/4 cup sugar! My mixture almost tripled in size and I stopped. It still turned out great and very delicious anyway.

 I used two buttered 9inch spring form cake pans to bake the cakes at 350*. You can follow Natasha’s Kitchen directions if it works better for you.

Let the cakes cool completely.

Lay the first layer down on the serving tray. Using a tablespoon, slowly poor half the syrup on the cake. Layer with the cream cheese frosting. Place the defrosted cherries in a layer on top of the frosting. Frost over the cherries. It’s a good idea to make the frosting layers thin so that you’re not getting a huge bite of frosting when eating the cake, unless that’s what you want! Place the second cake layer and repeat with the syrup and frosting. Cover the sides of the cake with frosting. You have cake!

Enjoy!!

My mom brought me these beautiful roses from her front yard. She has a great recipe for rose petal preserves. Come back soon and see the recipe!

Sooo goood!

Trying to keep up

Has it been two weeks already? I am really not doing good at posting once a week. I will try harder I promise! I know Easter has passed but…Happy Easter! Christ has risen!

For me Easter or “Pas’ha” is a great celebration in my church, celebrating Christ rising from the dead. And a little side note, Adventure Christian  Church of Rocklin, Ca had an amazing and beautiful service. After the church service my dad’s side of the family gathered together for a potluck lunch at my parents house. I think we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with such amazing food! My aunt Alla made her amazing sweet peiroshki again and I made the Gorka cake. It was a great time to spend with family.

One food that stands out for me when it’s Easter time is “Pasachka”. That’s what my family calls the traditional Russian/Ukrainian Easter bread. That is also what my husbands family calls it. When I did more research on the bread I learned that the “proper” name is Koolitch or Kulich bread. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious. I have never made one before so of course I go to my mother for her recipe. She tells me that she doesn’t really have a recipe and that she always experimented with different ingredients. Without a recipe I turn to my Russian cook book “Russian Cooking”. Their recipe had too many ingredients and looked so complicated to make I turned to Google instead. I found a great recipe on RecipeJoint.com. It was super simple and super easy, and super DELICIOUS! I love everything sweet and it had the perfect amount of sweetness. Original recipe is here. I changed up the ingredients a little, to what I had in my kitchen at the time.

Ingredients:

4 Cups plain flour

1 Tbsp dried yeast

1 Cup milk

1/2 Cup sugar

3 Eggs

1 Stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 Cup dried cranberries (recipe called for raisins and dried fruit, all I had were dried cranberries, they turned out great!)

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp cinnamon

1 Tsp vanilla extract

Icing (taken from “Russian Cooking”):

2 Cups confectioners sugar

1/4 cup cold water

2 Tsp fresh, strained lemon juice

Warm the milk to about 96*F. Sprinkle in the yeast and one teaspoonful of sugar. Add half of the flour. Mix well. At this point the mixture should be allowed to go frothy. I never felt that my mixture was “frothy”. I just let it sit for a while.

Cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs one at a time.

Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients.

Knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.

Traditionally this bread is baked in tall cans to give then that tall base and muffin top look. I used two medium size ceramic ramekins and a couple muffin tins. Bake in oven 375*F for 20-30 minutes. Cool on cooking rack then decorate with icing.

For icing just mix the ingredients together and slowly pour over the pasachka. I did not have enough confectioners sugar so my icing was more like a glaze.

I little sister Mary came over the day I was making these and did a great job helping me out. We baked a few different things in about 3 hours time. Thanks Mary!

Easter Sunday my little guy actually posed for me instead of running away to hide!

My little family at my parents home

Til next week!

“Gorka” or “Domik” Cake

This cake is called “Gorka”, small hill, or “Domik”, house because of it’s shape. It’s shaped like a hill with more rolls at the bottom and  less  rolls all the way to the top and covered in sour cream frosting.This is my husbands favorite cake. And I love it too! I have never tried it before my mother in law introduced me to it. It tastes amazing and it’s pretty easy to make. It takes some time to make  so plan ahead.

Ingredients:

-8oz butter, softened

-16oz sour cream

-2 3/4 cup flour

-1 Cup Whipping Cream

-1 1/2 cup sugar

-1 Tsp vanilla extract

-Sour cherries in syrup (I bought this at a Russian store. They come in two sizes. If you get the small one, you will use all of them. If you get the big one you can have lots of cherries in your cake and some to snack on.)

-Cornstarch (you will need just a little for sprinkling)

Directions:

Mix the butter with 1 cup  sour cream. Add flour a little bit at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.

Take dough and form into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a plate. You will have 12-15 balls. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Take dough out. Use a flat, floured surface and roll a ball out into an oval. Add flour when needed so it wont stick. Make it as thin as possible. Almost paper-thin.

Remove cherries from the syrup and line up in a row at the long edge of the oval dough. Sprinkle a little cornstarch. (I missed this step and didn’t use cornstarch and it turned out just fine.)

Start to roll up one edge over the cherries and roll all the way to the other edge. Now you have one long dough and cherry roll, trubachka.

Continue this process with the rest of the dough balls.

Preheat oven to 350*F. Use a non-stick cookie sheet or cover it with parchment paper to reduce the mess. Lay the roll down on top with about 1/2 inch in-between. Bake until no longer raw but golden in color. About 40-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them rest until completely cooled.

Sour cream frosting

Whip up whipping cream until light and fluffy.

Blend together the whipping cream, the rest of the sour cream, 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla.


On the serving platter you are using, line up 5 rolls. Cover in sour cream frosting. Top that with 4 rolls. Place them on top,  in-between the bottom rolls. Cover in frosting. Repeat with 3 then 2 and finally 1 last roll on top. It’s  up to you how well you want to cover the rolls with the frosting. I think it should look a little messy with some of the rolls and cherries showing through.

Garnish with grated chocolate if you would like.

Let the cake sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. This will allow the cream to soak into the dough.

Cut into the cake however you desire and enjoy!!!

oh sooo goood!



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