Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ciao, 2011- it's been real. Let's go out with a bang... and a super moist chocolate cake!

Well, another year over. 2011 has come to a close and with less than 24 hours left of this nutty year, we wanted to send you off properly... with the most moist, rich, delicious, sweet and overall decadent chocolate cake you will ever have (no matter what year it is). Topped with a butterscotch buttercream, this cake delivers in all things rich and guilty. Before we wash our slate's clean, let's dirty it up one more time with this cake ;)

Here's to hoping you bring closure to 2011 and embrace a new year with love, health, happiness... and perhaps a cupcake recipe or a new dish that keeps you open minded both in the kitchen, and in life.

Cheers!!! Here's to 2012 and another year of Gourmet Pantry delicious-ness!


1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee
pinch salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375F and spray your cake pan REALLY WELL- this moist cake will stick like whoa, you may even want to line it with sprayed parchment paper if you have any (although I didn't and it came out fine, but next time I make this I might do that).

In a large bowl, sift your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, salt, baking powder & baking soda. Mix & sift well. 

In a bowl of your stand mixer or hand held mixer, gently combine the eggs, sugar, oil, extract, and milk. Once combined, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time to slowly incorporate. Lastly, add the sour cream and beat until your creamy batter has been formed and all lumps are gone. Pour into your cake or cupcake pans and bake (20-25 minutes for a cake, 15 for cupcakes or until your toothpick comes out clean).

*This recipe make 1 small cake and 48 mini cupcakes as I did, or 2 large cakes for layering. It makes a lot of batter, so be prepared!*

Butterscotch Buttercream:

1 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup butterscotch morsels, melted
1/4 cup milk

In your mixer, whip the butter with 1 cup confectioner's sugar until incorporated. Add the melted (but cooled) butterscotch, and add milk and remaining confectioner's sugar... alternating until your frosting is fully whipped and combined. Will be a very light brown/beige color. Gorgeous!!!

Frost cakes and cupcakes ones cooled completely, this moist cake really needs to be cool before pouring anything onto it, otherwise it will break. Now, time to serve..... and indulge :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tilapia Tacos - less calories, but all the flavor!!!

Let's just say that this holiday season was filled with culinary indulgences (future recipes and posts to follow from said meals).

If you, like us, are finding yourselves in need of a bit of a diet detox, look no further. I really couldn't get over how flavorful this dish came out, and couldn't resist sharing it with you all. It is beyond easy, as it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, and absolutely insanely tasty. Did I say that already? Well, it is.

Feel free to substitute the salsa, and I use whole wheat pita pockets instead of wraps or tortillas. This basic recipe can be altered to your taste, and makes a perfect hearty week night meal!

Tilapia Tacos

1 lb tilapia filets (usually 4 medium sized filets, available at every grocery store that has a descent seafood section)
1 lime, zest & juice
1 tbsp butter
whole wheat pita pockets or mini wraps
mango salsa (I used a store bought kind from Whole Foods, all it contains if you wish to make your own is: diced mangoes, pineapples, red bell pepper, jicama, & sea salt)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 -2 tsp cayenne

First, preheat the oven to 375F and spray your baking pan with non stick spray. Place the filets evenly in your pan, season with salt pepper, zest & juice of the lime, and a tiny pad of butter on top of each filet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until finished (browns a little on the sides and top).
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the sour cream & cayenne pepper thoroughly.
In another bowl, mix together your mango salsa.

Let the tilapia cool, assemble and serve!
*Fun for a crowd & for a family, as you can assemble your own taco!

(the sour cream, served on the side)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Devil's food Whiskey cupcakes

Yes, I said it, Whiskey Cupcakes.

And yes, we apologize for the lack of postings lately- the holidays are upon us and we have been so busy cooking & baking we have barely had time to write it all down!

This recipe will make up for that. With all these holiday parties, we know you want to bring a snack that packs a punch. Let's just say the evening I served these cupcakes, we were all hurtin' the next morning due to the intense level of partying.

Ok, maybe the cupcakes weren't the cause of the hangovers (maybe it was the actual shots of Jameson?). I digress. These Devil's Food Whiskey Cupcakes are perfect for your next big night out on the town. Indulge a little, 'tis the season!


1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
2 eggs
1 cup milk, full fat or 1%

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a mixer, cream the butter & sugar together until light & fluffy, roughly 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift your dry ingredients together in a bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and instant coffee. Next, add the eggs 1 at a time to the creamed sugar. Now, slowly add the dry ingredients while alternating with the milk. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cupcakes and strength of your oven.

2-3 cups conf sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup whiskey (the better the whiskey, the better the flavor as it is NOT cooked out)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels, melted

Melt the chocolate morsels until smooth. Let it cool while you whip the butter & sugar together. As the butter & sugar whips, add the whiskey. Keep adding sugar until it hits your desired consistency. I like mine a bit thicker, so I only used 2 cups. Want less whiskey flavor? Add less whiskey. Add the melted chocolate once at room temp, mix, frost, serve!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cinnamon Coffee Cake with a Tangy Cranberry swirl

I had a ton of my home-made Orange Cranberry sauce left over from cooking a second Thanksgiving meal! As I stared at a full jar of the striking red liquid velvet, I had an epiphany! I LOVE coffee cake and I LOVE Cranberry sauce. Why not bring the two together! And thus was born the Cinnamon Coffee Cake with a Tangy Cranberry swirl!

Ingredients for the cake
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
Ingredients for Orange Cranberry Sauce
  • I packet of fresh Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3-4 tbsp of sugar (adjust the quantity based on how sweet or tart you want the sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). I used muffin pans to bake individual sized cakes, just line the muffin pan with a square of butter paper
  2. First make the sauce. In a large pot, pour the orange juice and cranberries and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Once the cranberries begin to pop, add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until the cranberries are mushy
  3. I don't like a chunky sauce, so I blend the cranberry mixture with a hand held blender and then filter through a sieve for a thick velvety texture. Set aside to cool
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream
  5. Now start layering the muffin moulds. With a large spoon first put a layer of the dough, then add a tbsp of the cranberry sauce onto the batter and swirl with a toothpick/knife.Repeat until the mould is full, ending with the batter on top
  6. Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown/ or passes the knife test
  7. Remove and let the cakes cool completely on a cooling rack
  8. Mix 1/4 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tbsps of fresh orange juice to make a glaze
  9. Drizzle the glaze on the cooled cake and de-vour!

These make a great home-made holiday gift too! Why wouldn't anyone like a soft, moist, tangy and sweet concoction as a gift?

Friday, December 9, 2011

One Bite Cinnabon Cookies

It's a Cinnamon roll, it's a spiced cookie....No...It's a mini Cinnabon Cookie! Genius!
Fan mail can be sent to:

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 ¼ cups)
4 oz softened cream cheese
3 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 tsp. dry active yeast
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp Orange Zest (secret ingredient!!)
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ Tb. cinnamon
3 Tb. whole milk
1 cup powdered sugar

  • Mix 2 tsp. vanilla extract with 1 tsp. of dry active yeast
  • Cream the butter, cream cheese, vanilla with yeast, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy—2-3 minutes
  • Turn the mixer on low. Add the salt, orange zest, then slowly add the flour. Scrape the bowl and mix until well combined
  • Press the dough into a flat disk. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for (at least) 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl
  • Flour a piece of wax paper and roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately ¼ inch thick (you can work in batches of dough to make it easier)
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough. Starting on the cinnamon covered side, carefully roll the dough tightly toward the other edge.
  • Press the seam firmly, then cut the roll into 1/3-1/2 inch slices and lay on lined cookie sheets
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and cinnamon sugar
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Cool completely. Then whisk the powdered sugar, milk and remaining vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Dip the face of each cookie into the glaze and set on a rack to dry

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Braised Salmon with Dill & Leeks in a Tomato Red Pepper Sauce

Easiest. Gourmet. Dish. I made this for a friend for Thanksgiving because he does not eat Turkey and let me tell you, there was not one flake of fish left on the platter! Tangy, fresh and velvety, this Salmon dish looks and taste completely gourmet but takes all of 15 minutes to make!!

1 fillet of Salmon (or 2! Just double the rest of the ingredients below as well)
1 Leek, thinly sliced (discard the green part)
1/2 cup dry White Wine
1/2 cup Tomato Red Pepper soup (I used this, because I had some left over from the other day, and also because I don't like chunks of tomato in my food! But you can definitely use just chopped tomato OR tomato sauce)
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup of fresh Dill

1. In a hot skillet, add Olive Oil and garlic and saute until lightly brown
2. Now add the Leeks and saute until translucent
3. Add the soup, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 2 minutes
4. Now add your fish and cook for an additional 2 minutes
5. Finally pour the White Wine in the skillet, sprinkle the Dill over the fish and bring to a low simmer
6. Now cover the skillet and cook for another 7 minutes or until fish is flaky

Once ready, sprinkle some more fresh Dill over the fish and serve alongside our homemade butterhorns! Perfect for sopping up that yummy sauce!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simple Oatmeal Raisin Mini Muffins

Well it's about that time of the week, where you just really NEED it to be Friday but it isn't. You know tomorrow will be a rough day and you're going to need a power snack to get you through it. This simple muffin recipe is amazingly low maintenance, and doesn't even require a mixer, hand held or any other kind. A bowl and a spoon will work just fine. I am counting on these to power me through the remainder of the week. I know you've got all these ingredients on hand. You can use this simple base recipe, and add just about any combo of flavors, dried fruits, nuts, spices, etc. I made them in mini muffin tins, but you can use regular sized tins, as well. Go ahead, play with your food!

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins


1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup oats
2 tsps baking powder
1/3 cup raisins

Start. as always, be preheating the oven. 425F. Line the cupcake tins.
In a small bowl, soak the oats in the milk for 10-15 minutes or until the milk is fully absorbed by the oats.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, oil, and vanilla extract.
In a 3rd bowl, sift the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and raisins to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, along with the oatmeal mixture. Mix with a large spoon just to combine and form dough. Fill the tins 3/4 the way, bake 10-12 minutes (for mini, double the time for larger muffin tins) and serve nice & hot with a cup of apple cider, or at room temp the next day for a power snack! Yumm!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cranberry Ginger Quinoa & Beef 'Stew-Fry'

This cranberry craze isn't going away anytime soon... or at least until this massive box of dried cranberries is gone from my pantry. Paired it with some quinoa and a few shreds of beef--- and voila---- a healthy comforting dinner that is sure to satisfy you even on the coldest (or warmest, lately) winter nights! Note: Quinoa is a grain but super high in both protein and fiber, so amazingly good for you and you can cook this and eat it with just about anything. Think of it as a blank slate guilt free carb! Want to make the vegetarian version? Use vegetable stock & double up on the veggies vs the beef, it's all good! This recipe is dubbed a "stew-fry" because it is not rally fried, and certainly not as thick or fatty as most stews. But the flavor, oh it's still there. Enjoy!!

Cranberry Ginger Quinoa & Beef Stew-Fry

1/2 lb beef stew chunks (pre-cut from the grocery store)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/3 cup red wine, whatever you have will work just fine
1/4 cup unsalted beef stock (for the stew-fry) + 1 cup beef stock (for quinoa)
salt & pepper
ground ginger
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup water

Start by soaking the quinoa in a bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes. This rinses off some tart residue for later. In a small-medium sauce pan, add 1 cup beef stock with 1/2 cup water. Then, add the 1 cup of quinoa (rinsed and dried). Add dried cranberries, a pinch of salt, pepper, and ginger and let cook the way you would any rice or grain.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, add a touch of olive oil, and the diced onions & carrots. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and ginger. Let them cook until translucent, roughly 5-10 minutes. Then, add the shreds of beef stew and sprinkle with more salt, pepper, and ginger. Add the red wine, and let the alcohol cook out for about 30 seconds (it will sizzle a LOT at first, then calm down). Then, add the beef stock, lower the heat & cover. Let cook until the beef is cooked through (will be firm to the touch in the middle). When quinoa is finished, serve it up and devour.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Homemade Dinner rolls, Butterhorns, Cresecent rolls! Call 'em what you want!

Either way you slice/dice it, the fact is they are super flaky, buttery and the perfect vehicle to sop up the yummy left over pasta sauce, gravy or curry left on your dinner plate.

And as we mentioned in this post, we are almost always going to make our own bread from now on! Because its easy, fun, exciting, inexpensive and delicious! These rolls require very little effort, a cold rise overnight and a big appetite once they are golden brown out of the oven!

This recipe makes 32 rolls, I did not bake all that many, instead I froze half the dough for a rainy day

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you might need a bit more to add towards the end, depending on how sticky your dough turns out)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
1. First prepare the yeast by dissolving it in 1 teaspoon sugar and warm water. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine shortening and milk. Heat until shortening is melted; set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt together. Add the cooled milk mixture and yeast to the eggs, and combine well to blend in all the ingredients.
3. Now add your dry ingredients: sift in the flour and baking powder in, and mix well. At this point you may feel your dough is too sticky to combine together. If so, add a little more flour so the dough is not sticking to your hands.
Once combined, cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. Next morning, remove the dough and divide it into quarters (I froze 2 quarters of dough to use another day). On a well floured surface, roll out the quarter to a 1/2 thick disc. Now cut the disc into 8 triangles. Spread the softened butter onto the surface of the dough.
** You can actually stuff these rolls with any number of fillings: Try a Garlic Herb Butter, Cranberry and Goat Cheese spread, or even sauteed onions, green peppers and sausages for a more savory take.

5. Roll each triangle from the larger to the pointy side, and transfer the roll on the baking sheet, with the pointy side down.
6. Once the baking sheet is lined with all your rolls, cover once again with plastic wrap. Now let it rise (it will double in size!) for another 3-4 hours.

7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top!


Your dinner rolls are ready to be consumed! Make a breakfast sandwich with some scrambled eggs and cheese or enjoy as is with a cup of delicious coffee! Dinner rolls = happiness!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pantry Pot Pies: Cranberry & Cinnamon

As our pantry cleanse continues… we GOTS-TO get rid of all these Thanksgiving leftover ingredients before they go bad! Fresh cranberries being ‘Numero Uno’ on my list. They last for a while in the ‘fridge, but now they are reaching expiration and must be used. I always have some ready-made store bought piecrusts in the freezer. These are cheap, freeze beautifully, and everyone has got some leftover piecrust after these gluttonous days. This recipe makes the most delicious, individually indulged pies that you will ever whip up. Basic ingredients go a long way here, folks. They provide just the right amount of an afternoon snack at work to bring you back to your couch for a few minutes in the midst of a rough day post holiday time. Place in airtight containers and enjoy for up to 1 week.


1 package store bought pie crust (need 2 sheets of crust)
1 quart fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup water
3 tsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup milk (for coating)
sugar for dusting

Begin by preheating the oven to 450F. In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar, ¼ cup water, orange zest, vanilla, and brown sugar and turn on medium-low heat. Mix well as it begins to cook down, but don’t let it boil or burn. Cook until the cranberries begin to soften and release their tart-y juicy goodness. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl dissolve the cornstarch in remaining ¼ cup water. Add mixture to the cranberries and let cook down for roughly 15 minutes until it is nice and thick- pie like filling consistency. Let it cool thoroughly before you put the pies together. While they cool--- roll out your pie crust dough. Most store bought pie crust comes 2-in-1. Roll out the first on a floured surface, and place 2 tbsp of pie filling, each about 2 inches from another to leave room for cutting and sealing. As if you were making raviolis! Once you have put the pie filling on the crust, take the second piecrust and roll it out, and place carefully upon the topped crust. Seal the edges with your fingers and leave about ½ -1 inch between the filling and edge of the dough so you know where to cut, and to leave some room for it to bake. Slice the edges with a knife, and pinch the corners together and round them up with your fingers. This takes a few minutes but it is SO worth the effort. See pic below for pre-baked pies. Shape them however you like! Next time I fully intend to use cookie cutters to make fun festive shapes!

In a small bowl, pour the milk and use a pastry brush or simply a paper towel to coat the pies, and dust with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until your piecrust is browned on the edges. Let cool or enjoy nice and hot out of the oven!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Corn Pudding, it's Corn Bread. It's Delicious!

Creamed Corn and Jalapeno Bread

2 boxes of Corn Bread Mix (Post Thanksgiving, almost everyone has leftover corn bread mix! If not, it's 99 cents a box!)
3 Eggs
2/3 cup of 2% milk (you can use whole milk if you want it to be richer!)
1 can of Creamed Corn (Unsalted)
3 Jalapeno Pepper, remove the seeds and finely dice
handful of chopped Chives (or Rosemary or Thyme! Whichever flavor you like most!)
1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
1/2 cup of sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (you can avoid this all together, for a less dense bread)
                                                                    Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, creamed corn and salt/pepper and mix to combine. Now add the dry ingredients, Corn Bread mix, chopped jalapenos, chives, ginger and cheddar cheese. Mix well to avoid any lumps.
Pour the mixture in a well greased baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees, for 45 minutes or until you pass the knife test!


Creamy, moist, sweet and spicy Corn Bread is ready to be devoured!

This the easiest recipe and you can jazz it up any way you want. Add sauteed onions and mushrooms or green peppers and your favorite sausage for a heartier bite!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sticky, Sweet and Saucy....Better-than-Ketchup Onion Marmalade!

Who does not like a nice juicy burger with all the gourmet fixings, for a weeknight dinner!? Who out there likes their burgers with just some wilted lettuce and a sorry slice of tomato? No Sir, that's NO WAY to eat a burger!

A perfectly cooked burger (in this case, it was a delicious Jalapeno Cumin Turkey Burger!) must be serenaded with all the fancy fixings you can gather. And making them at home, with ingredients from your pantry only makes it that much more special!

So, today we whipped up a sticky delicious Rosemary Onion Marmalade for our burgers! So simple to make and it's amazingly caramelized flavor will jazz up any burger like it's on crack! You won't regret slathering your bun with this goodness. You can send us thank you fan mail after you have licked your fingers clean!
 Rosemary Onion Marmalade
3 Large white onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of olive oil
3 teaspoons of chopped fresh Rosemary
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of good Red wine (any kind you like to drink!)
salt to taste

Easy peasy! Throw the sliced onions into a wide pan with the olive oil and Rosemary and let them cook until translucent.
Then add the salt and white sugar and continue to cook the onions until they get some color on them
Once lightly caramelized, add the brown sugar and keep cooking until the onions get a darker caramelize on them.
Finally, add the Red wine, reduce the heat and let the onions and wine marry and make love!

This whole process takes about 20-25 minutes. Be patient and you shall be rewarded! The wine will reduce and thicken and the resulting product will be the most amazing gooey spreadable heaven!
It's great on a burger or even with some roasted chicken! Or throw it in some pasta or spread over crackers topped with tangy goat or blue cheese for a delicious appetizer!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Always start with Dessert! French Cinnamon Butter Cookies

Is a motto we live by very seriously, here at The Gourmet Pantry! So for our first "December Clean the Pantry month" recipe we present to you.....drum rolls......French Cinnamon Butter Cookies. These are buttery and crunchy yet velvety. Popularly known as Sables, it's the easier version of a Shortbread Cookie.

Ridiculously easy and viciously delicious! You're welcome!

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (more if you prefer)

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until nice a fluffy. For all you fancy cooks with Kitchen Aid mixers, this cannot get any easier!

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until incorporated. Do not over mix the dough

Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm

Scoop out a tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball and place on a baking sheet (non-stick or parchment lined). With the back of a spoon, slight flatten the dough and top with powdered cinnamon (Nutmeg is another great option too!)

Bake cookies in a 350 degrees oven for about 12-15 minutes (depending on size of cookie) or until golden brown around the edges

Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on a rack. Enjoy with a delicious cup of tea or glass of milk