Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Amanda Hesser’s Chocolate Dump-it Cake 01/10/2015

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Birthday,Desserts — dearmasa @ 9:34 PM

Serves 10

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Nestle’s semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar.
  4. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.)
  5. When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend.
  6. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky – if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it’s ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/ 4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
  8. When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have two layers (when I do this, I use 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups sour cream). My mother uses any leftover icing to make flowers on top. She dabs small rosettes, or buttons, on top, then uses toasted almond slices as the petals, pushing them in around the base of the rosette.


Kayla’s Pumpkin Pie 12/28/2013

Filed under: Desserts,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Oven,Winter — kdearmas @ 10:23 PM

The original is here. This version includes Kayla’s modifications that have made her pumpkin pie the envy of all! It’s also better made the day before, cooled and put in the frig. If your spices are old, double up on the spices to avoid it turning out a bit bland.


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Kahlua
  • unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional) (I have no idea who thinks whipped cream is optional)


Preheat oven to 425° F


  • Sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.
  • Beat eggs in large bowl.
  • In the large bowl with the eggs, stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  • Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.


  • In preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (per Kayla: “That knife should come out clean as a whistle!”.
  • Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  • Top with whipped cream before serving (again, who thinks whipped cream is optional?!?)

Caramel Rice Pudding with Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche 04/28/2010

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Desserts,Stove Top — dearmasa @ 1:29 PM

Photo: Sarah Shatz
Photo: Sarah Shatz

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche, plus more for serving
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cups arborio rice
  1. Put the butter in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter stops foaming, and you see orangey brown specks start to appear, stir gently with a wooden spoon. After a minute or two, when the specks are nut brown and the butter smells nice and toasty, sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar over the butter and stir to combine. (It will clump up a little, but don’t worry!)
  2. Switch to a whisk, and cook the butter and sugar, whisking all the time, until the sugar has melted and the mixture becomes a smooth, rich brown caramel, about 5 minutes. (Early on, the butter and sugar will separate, and the butter will pool around the edges of the sugar, but never fear! Once the sugar has fully melted, the two will start to come together again, and you’ll have a nice smooth caramel.)
  3. When the caramel is a rich nut brown and starts to smoke, remove the pan from the heat and quickly and carefully whisk in the crème fraiche and about 1/2 a cup of the milk. Don’t worry if the mixture bubbles up when you do this – it’ll settle down again quickly. (This step cools off the caramel and keeps it from cooking further.) Return the pan to the heat and whisk in the rest of the milk, the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, the vanilla seeds and the salt. If the caramel seizes a little, just keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth again.
  4. Switch back to the wooden spoon and stir in the rice. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the milk is simmering steadily and cook the rice pudding uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, especially towards the end. The rice should be tender but not mushy, and the pudding should thicken but still be quite loose – remember that it will thicken a lot more while it’s cooling. Transfer the pudding to a container, cover and refrigerate until cold. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of crème fraiche.
(courtesy of “Merrill”

Chocolate Fudge 02/10/2010

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Desserts,Stove Top — dearmasa @ 7:38 PM

  • Servings: 2 pounds
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 Minutes


  • 3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Dash salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • LINE 8- or 9-inch pan with wax paper.
  • MELT chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  • CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of wax paper; peel off paper. Cut into squares.

The World’s Best Lemon Squares EVER! 12/28/2009

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Desserts,Oven — dearmasa @ 6:15 AM

Lemon Squares from Hoppin’ John’s Charleston, Beaufort & Savannah

These are very old-fashioned lemon squares, made with real lemon curd and shortbread. Citrus trees were popular in eighteenth century Charleston gardens; on some of the plantations the owners built orangeries to protect the trees from occasional winter freezes. The Meyer lemon, a large sweet variety, is a favored variety today for courtyard gardens. Though shunned by commercial growers because it carries a disease that damages other citrus, Meyer lemons are large, sweet, and juicy. Use them for this dessert if you can find them.

The semolina or rice flour is added for texture, per old Scottish recipes. If you use rice flour, it should be a fairly coarse, natural product, not the processed Southeast Asian type.

2 or 3 lemons (or 1 large Meyer lemon)
5 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, well sifted
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, well sifted
1/4 cup semolina or rice flour
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Grate the zest from 2 lemons onto a sheet a wax paper and set aside. Squeeze 1/3 cup of lemon juice into a measuring cup. If you don’t have 1/3 cup, squeeze juice from another lemon. In the top of a double boiler or in a wide stainless-steel bowl that will fit over a saucepan, beat the egg yolks with the lemon juice and zest and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Save the wax paper.

Put the bowl over simmering water and whisk the mixture until it is very thick and light in color, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually beat in one of the sticks of butter, a little at a time. The mixture should be very shiny and smooth. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

Preheat the oven to 325o. Cream the remaining stick of butter and 1/4 cup sugar together with the salt in a mixing bowl. Add the flour and the semolina or rice flour and mix well. Turn the mixture out into an 8-inch square baking pan and cover with the wax paper. Press evenly into the pan, then remove the wax paper.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. Add the lemon curd and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely before cutting into 16 2-inch squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Makes 16 squares.


Brennan’s Bananas Foster

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Desserts — dearmasa @ 6:08 AM

From Brennan’s website: “This is the actual Bananas Foster recipe from the original source and creator of this dessert: Brennan’s Restaurant. In 1951, Chef Paul created Bananas Foster. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission. Richard Foster was a frequent customer of Brennan’s and a very good friend of Owen.”

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup banana liqueur
  • 4 bananas, cut in half
    lengthwise, then halved
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

    Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften Bananas Fosterand begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.


Kahlua White Russian Cake 11/19/2009

Filed under: Desserts,Lib Griffith,Terry Griffith — dearmasa @ 10:22 AM

3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) Kahlua

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vodka

½ cup (3 ounces) white chocolate, cut small

2 cups sifted cake flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup butter

2 tablespoons shortening

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 large eggs

¾ cup buttermilk

1/3 cup apricot jam

Kahlua White Russian Cream

White chocolate curls and shavings


Combine Kahlua, vodka, and chocolate. Place over low heat or hot water until chocolate melts; stir to blend. Cool slightly. Resift cake flour with baking soda and powder. Grease well and flour lightly two 9-inch layer cake pans. Cream butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Blend in Kahlua-chocolate mixture, then flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.

Divide batter between two pans. Bake at 350°F 25 to 30 minutes until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Turn out on to wire racks; cooling completely.

To make Kahlua White Russian cream, beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar until thickened. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup Kahlua and 2 teaspoons vodka, beating until stiff)

Spread bottom surface of one cake layer with half the jam and about ¼ cup of Kahlua White Russian Cream. Spread bottom surface of second layer with remaining jam. Place on top of first layer. Swirl remaining cream topping on top and sides of cake. Decorate top generously with white chocolate, curls and shavings. If prepared ahead, refrigerate, removing 30 minutes before serving to capture full flavor. Makes 12-16 servings.