Soups for Winter


Baby, it’s cold outside.

Nothing quite warms you up on a winter day like a nice hot bowl of soup. Here are a few resources to find some great winter soups.

The 54 Most Delish Winter Soups & Stews

Gorgeous Winter Soups Recipes
Jamie Oliver

Winter Soups and Stews Recipes

Winter Soups
Martha Stewart

8 Perfect-for-Winter Soup Recipes
Real Simple

Have a favorite winter soup recipe (or two)? Share them in the comments.

It’s National Bundt Day


Today is National Bundt Cake Day. Based on the traditional European fruit cake nown as Gugelhupf the shape became more common in the 1950s and 1960s when Nordic Are trademarked the name “Bundt.”

Have a favorite Bundt Cake recipe? Share it in the comments.

It’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day


“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

Today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. What’s more fun and more delicious than chocolate?

Here are some great chocolate cupcake recipes to try:

Chocolate Cupcakes by Martha Stewart


3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Try them with this Easy White Icing:


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)


In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.
Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes
Very Best Baking by Nestlé


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1 3/4 cups (11.5-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line 20 muffin cups.

COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup.

BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Milk Chocolate Frosting.

MICROWAVE morsels, butter and salt in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Transfer to large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in sugar alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla extract.
1/2 cup sour cream

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes by Betty Crocker


Reynolds™ Baking Cups

Chocolate Shards
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (1 oz)

1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup whipping cream

1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Have a favorite chocolate cupcake recipe of your own? Share it in the comments below.

It’s National Dessert Day


Today is National Dessert Day. What’s your favorite fall dessert?

Here are a couple of ours we wouldn’t mind enjoying right now. Sure there’s apple pie and pumpkin pie, and maybe even sweet potato pie. But why stop there? Try some of these.

Maple-Apple Upside-Down Cake
Food & Wine

1 cup pure maple syrup
3 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then simmer over low heat until very thick and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Pour the thickened syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the apples in the pan in 2 concentric circles, overlapping them slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry and wet ingredients in 3 alternating batches until the batter is smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl.

Scrape the batter over the apples and spread it in an even layer. Bake the cake for 1 hour, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 45 minutes.

Place a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate; tap lightly to release the cake. Remove the pan. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.

Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

1/2 c. butter, melted, plus more for buttering pan
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pan
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. pumpkin puree (unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-5″ loaf pan and dust with cocoa powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another large bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, egg and egg yolk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until combined, then fold in chocolate chips and pumpkin puree.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat heavy cream just until it bubbles. Pour heavy cream over chocolate chips and let stand 2 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth and no clumps remain.

Pour ganache over pumpkin bread, smoothing top if desired, and serve.

Pecan and Chocolate Tart with Bourbon Whipped Creme Fraiche

1 Pâte Sucrée disk
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans plus
1 1/2-2 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons bourbon
Special equipment: An 11″-diameter fluted tart pan with a removable bottom

Roll out Pâte Sucrée disk on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/8″-thick round, dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer crust to tart pan; press onto bottom and up sides of pan. Trim dough flush with edge of pan. Chill for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out chopped pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and aromatic, 8-10 minutes.

Place butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, swirling pan a few times, until butter browns and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Discard vanilla bean.

Whisk sugar, both corn syrups, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in warm brown butter, then eggs; whisk to blend. Spread chopped pecans in an even layer over prepared tart shell. Scatter chocolate over. Place pecan halves in concentric circles over chopped pecans and chocolate. Pour filling slowly and evenly over nuts.

Bake tart until filling is just set in center, 45-50 minutes.

Transfer tart to a wire rack; let cool for at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Tart can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Beat cream, crème fraîche, and bourbon until soft peaks form. DO AHEAD: Bourbon whipped crème fraîche can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Rewhisk before serving.

Remove pan sides. Cut tart into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature with bourbon whipped crème fraîche.

Well, that’s enough to get started. After all, it’s National Dessert Day, not Week.

What are some of your favorite fall dessert recipes?


It’s officially autumn and here in Central Virginia post Matthew leaves are falling and temperatures are dropping. A great time for soup, right? We thought about posting a few of our favorite recipes, but then thought why limit the list?

Here are some great sites with tasty recipies for fall soups.

The 59 Most Delish Fall Soups
Cold, stormy night? There’s a soup for that.

32 Cozy, Warming Soups to Make This Fall
Bon Appétit

Fall Soups and Stews Recipes
Allrecipes has more than 120 trusted fall soup and stew recipes complete with ratings, reviews and cooking tips.

18 Hearty Fall Soups
Nothing’s more comforting on a chilly day than a bowl of soup

10 Fall Soups That Will Warm Your Insides
Slurp your way through fall with these creative soup recipes.

Hungry yet?

What’s the deal with fruitcake?


Fruitcake. You either love it. Or you hate it. Or you use it as a doorstop.

There’s no middle ground.

On the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson once said that there was only one fruitcake and that it had been re-gifted around the world for years.

True, the density and high sugar content in fruitcake inhibit the growth of bacteria. That only intensifies if it’s soaked in alcohol. The general rule of thumb is that you need to make a fruitcake three to four months before it is to be consumed. But some fruitcake afficionados wait as much as a year or two. But don’t freeze it because, believe it or not, it won’t keep as long.

If you love fruitcake, maybe it’s because you grew up with it. Or maybe you grew up in Claxton, Georgia which claims to be “The Fruitcake Capital of the World.”

If you must have fruitcake, and if you must bake your own, keep in mind you’re too late for this year’s holiday celebrations. But here are some recipies to consider.

The New York Times has the recipe for White House Fruitcake. That’s the name, not an editorial comment about any past or present occupant. has a no-bake fruitcake recipe by Paula Deen. It may shock you to know there’s no butter involved.

You might want to try the Backhouse Family Fruitcake offered by Martha Stewart.

Then there’s Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake shared by the Food Network.

Epicurious gives us Mrs. Mackinnon’s Christmas Fruitcake.

If you try one of these recipes or find your own, come back in a year or two and let us know how it turned out.

Behold, the cranberry


What is it about cranberries?

While Virginians know that there were likely no cranberries at the real first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, it is believed that cranberries were among the bounty that Native Americans shared with the pilgrims.

Cranberries are a fruit that grows on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. They are one of only three fruits native to North America. They grow mostly in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries are of course associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his relationship with Joy Gresham (whom he later married) there’s a seen with Lewis and young Douglas Gresham who is missing being home for the holidays. It goes like

Lewis: You wish you were at home, don’t you?

Douglas: We always have a turkey for Christmas at home.

Lewis: Well, we’ll have turkey here too.

Douglas: With cranberry sauce? – My dad loves cranberry sauce.

Lewis: Does he?

(To Mrs. Young, the Housekeeper)

Lewis: We wouldn’t happen to have any cranberry sauce, would we?

Mrs. Young: Cranberry sauce? What’s that?

Lewis: Well, my guess is it’s a sauce, made from cranberries.

Mrs. Young: Well, Mr. Lewis, if you can find me some cranberries, I’ll sauce ’em.

He did, and she did, but it wasn’t what young Douglas was hoping for.

Cranberries are a must at Thanksgiving, and there are many ways to serve them. Rather than pick
out a handful of recipes we found several sites that offer a variety of cranberry recipes.

Spectacular Thanksgiving Sides from Southern Living
There’s something for everyone in this special collection of Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Find familiar favorites, along with tempting new creations to try on your Thanksgiving menu.

Fresh Cranberry Recipes from Martha Stewart

The Best Cranberry Desserts You’ll Ever Make from Huffington Post
No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without the requisite cranberry sauce. And they’re
pretty much the best part of any Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. But cranberries can do more
than accompany turkey — their unique tart flavor and ruby red color turn any standard dessert
into a stunning one.

Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes from The Food Network
Try new ways to make cranberry sauce with recipes from Food Network chefs.

21 Cranberry Recipes from Coastal Living
Don’t get bogged down thinking cranberries are just for traditional sauce. There’s way more to
this tart treat.