By popular demand, here is the vanilla version of my hugely popular quick & easy chocolate cake. As simple as the recipe is, it was not easy to get it right. I finally came up with a version that always turns out for me. I know it has a lot of sugar but every time I tried to use less, it did not turn out. With this “wacky” style cake, the sugar is needed for structure.
I also tried different pans, a square 8 x 8 pan and a round 8-inch pan, and was disappointed in both results. A 9-inch pan was the perfect size for a consistent cake. I suggest sticking with the recipe as written and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a light and delicious homemade cake that anyone can make, even amateur cooks. During the coronavirus quarantine, it’s good to have a dessert that does not use eggs, or even butter except for the frosting.
I’ve also just posted my new 2-minute vanilla frosting, made with just 2 tablespoons of butter, although this cake is really good with chocolate frosting too. I usually cool the cake in the pan and only frost the top.
If you plan to remove the cake to a platter, I suggest greasing the pan and lining the bottom with parchment paper. You can buy packages of parchment paper rounds or cut our own. I hope everybody likes this simple yet delicious cake and I’ll be waiting for the first photo! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
It’s just so good! I wanted something special for the holiday weekend and decided on my homemade apple pie. I bought six large Granny Smith apples and this time I cut the slices a little smaller, about 3/4-inch thick. Someone had mentioned that the apples weren’t cooked enough so slightly smaller pieces worked out just fine. And of course, I always use my easy oil crust, using avocado oil.
Most of the time I brush the crust with milk but I had whipping cream on hand and used that before sprinkling the top with sugar. I didn’t see much difference from using milk. You can’t buy an apple pie anywhere that even comes close to homemade. Serve an apple pie and you’ll find you have more friends & family than you realized! ? Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
For anyone who does not have a Dutch oven but wants an easy way to make crusty homemade bread with no kneading and almost no work at all, look what I just made on a baking sheet! It was so easy and the loaf was crusty and delicious.
A Dutch oven with a lid creates steam inside the pot, which produces that crispy crust so I create steam inside the oven by placing a small 5 by 9-inch pan in the oven while it’s preheating. Then when I place the bread in to bake, I pour some boiling water into the little hot pan and whoosh – steam goes all over the place. I close the oven door right away to keep the steam inside and let it bake.
Anyone can make this easy no knead bread on a baking sheet. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Quick & easy pierogi? There is no such thing. But if ever a recipe was worth the time, it’s homemade pierogi. I only make potato & cheese pierogi because that’s what I grew up on. My dad taught me how to make them and I’m so glad I shared the recipe because I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to put in the effort. It turns out a lot of people do. There are hundreds of comments and over a million people have watched the video.
There are two things to make: the dough and the filling. The mashed potato filling is easy to make but the dough takes more time and it’s important that the filling stays inside the dough when they are boiled. Before boiling, the pierogi must be kept apart on a floured towel because if they touch each other they will likely stick and create an opening in the dough. That would result in them breaking apart when they’re boiled. I line a baking sheet with a dish towel and sprinkle it with flour and place them on the towel, not touching.
I boil mine in a medium saucepan so I only boil 4 or 5 at a time, making sure at first that they don’t touch each other in the water. Pierogi take about 3-4 minutes to cook and when they’re done I remove them to an oiled baking sheet and put the next few in the boiling water. (By the way, “pierogi” is plural – one is called a “pierog” but people often use “pierogies” as the plural).
Once they’re cooked I still keep them mostly separated. There are two ways to enjoy these Polish treasures. One is to eat them right after boiling when they are soft and tender, served with sour cream and bacon bits. I rarely eat bacon but that rule goes out the window when I make homemade pierogi.
The other way is to pan fry them in a little oil or butter until they’re lightly browned and serve them with (big surprise…) sour cream and bacon bits. They are also often served with fried onions. Well I have to go now. We have leftovers. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Autumn is here and that means it’s apple pie time. I always make it with an oil crust because if nothing else, it’s just easier. You can pat it into the pan but I find that rolling it between sheets of wax paper is the best way to use an oil crust, especially for the top. My apples of choice are granny smith ? and my thickener of choice is tapioca but flour works too.
Homemade apple pie is something special. We were at a social gathering last night and when desserts were set out, I told some friends I had just made an apple pie and it was cooling on the counter at home. If they wanted to, we could skip the prepared desserts and go to my house for apple pie. “Homemade apple pie? Let’s go!”
That’s the power of homemade apple pie. My husband’s two favorite desserts are my Fresh Strawberry Cake and Homemade Apple Pie. Nothing compares. I love this delicious pie and I must admit I like the power. I think I hear him in the garage right now cleaning things up. ? Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I always look for a healthier way to make all the favorite things we like to eat and chocolate chip cookies are at the top of my “favorite things to eat” list. I posted my recipe some time ago but when I baked them today, I made a couple of small improvements. I reduced the oil and salt a little and I prefer them the new way. (the changes are noted in the recipe).
Anyone looking to bake with whole grains can make my version that uses part whole wheat & part all purpose flour. But these healthier cookies can also be made using only all purpose flour but honestly, there’s not much difference so I say go with the whole wheat version.
While most chocolate chip cookie recipes start out with a stick of butter, my recipe uses only three tablespoons of butter. I’m still not convinced we should be eating lots of butter as some people believe but when I use butter, I’m going with the grass-fed kind.
I always put nuts in these cookies and whether you use walnuts or pecans, I highly recommend toasting the nuts first. Toasting intensifies the flavor and it will add a lot to these delicious cookies, especially pecans. For chocolate chips, the darker the better for some health benefits.
To try my whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies, just click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I want to remind everyone how easy it is to make pancakes from scratch. How easy? Twelve minutes. Yes, it takes just 12 minutes to make my whole grain oatmeal pancakes. It was our Sunday breakfast, served with a little butter and a lot of real maple syrup.
These easy, healthy pancakes are made with buttermilk, oats, and whole wheat pastry flour so they are 100% whole grain. Buttermilk really makes the best pancakes! My usual breakfast is a hard-boiled egg, a slice of my homemade bread, a little fruit, and a cup of tea, but Sunday is the day for special treats – I should have called it Sunday brunch because we didn’t eat until after 11:00.
I found these pretty plates at Walmart so I took a new picture. Next Sunday, or maybe tomorrow, if you want a healthy whole grain breakfast that’s fun and easy, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I made bran muffins today and was going to have one for breakfast. I had two. I’ve never been able to eat just one even thought they have a lot of fiber. There’s something so tasty about the combination of molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla, especially with a glass of cold milk. There are a lot of reasons to eat fiber. It can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fiber protects your heart, prevents constipation, and it keeps you feeling full so it helps with weight loss too.
But the best reason to eat these muffins is they are really delicious and easy to make. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
It pays to experiment. Today I decided to try making whole wheat no knead bread faster to avoid the overnight wait. I increased the amount of yeast and it worked! Most no knead breads use 1/4 teaspoon of yeast so I tried 1 teaspoon and let the dough rest for just three hours instead of overnight. I was so happy with the result. It’s a nice hearty loaf with a soft interior. This is not 100% whole wheat because that is a heavier, dense loaf. This is 2/3 whole wheat to 1/3 bread flour but it’s still a good source of fiber.
So now I have NINE different variations of no knead bread from Fruit & Nut Bread to Multi-Grain to No Dutch Oven at all. And I’m working on number ten! Keep in mind that any whole wheat bread will never be as soft and crispy as the white version but this is still a delicious, hearty, healthier whole wheat bread and it takes almost no work at all. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
In response to the many people who either do not have a Dutch oven or find it difficult to lift such a heavy pot, I decided to try making my no knead bread on a baking pan. Well guess what? It works. It makes a great loaf that’s soft inside with a beautiful golden crust. It’s not quite as crispy of a crust as the Dutch oven method but it’s close. It’s important to find a way to create steam in the oven because steam is what makes a crispy crust. But even without steam, it still bakes up nicely but with a softer crust.
For my ciabatta bread, which needs steam, I used a disposable foil 6-cup muffin pan, which you can place beside or just below the bread.
But I also found a small 9 by 5-inch baking pan for $3.50 and a restaurant supply store and it works well too. It’s what I used for this loaf.
It’s important to add the hot water right when you put in the bread and close the oven door right away. The steam is most effective right at the beginning. I use a metal measuring cup with a handle to pour the hot water. I hope my photos are helpful and that now, anyone without a Dutch oven can make this super easy, delicious, artisan bread. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones