Wondering what kuchen is? So was I. Kuchen is a German word for cake. Most kuchen have eggs and flour as the main ingredient, but some may also contain a sweetener or a fat. In other languages, it is used as a term for savory or sweet desserts, or pastries. It is common in Germany to have friends over to enjoy some coffee and kuchen.

Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, authors of  The Cupcake Diaries explains that “this isn’t a traditional kuchen recipe because they did not use yeast.” They also noted that kuchen “commonly does not have a frosting, instead it has a cinnamon-sugar topping.” 

Whatever the origin of this cupcake, it is just plain delicious. The inside of the cupcake is beautiful fluffy goodness, topped with a divinely caramelized sugar topping. Each bite is more wonderful than the last.

I chose to make this recipe because (as usual), I had all the ingredients in my pantry and it was a crummy day outside. Just a few notes; the batter took much longer than the 16 to 18 minutes they suggested. It took closer to 20 to 25 minutes. I made it twice, each time in two completely different ovens and the same thing occurred. So, don’t worry if it takes a little longer to bake. Also, you want the top of the cupcake to be a light, golden brown, so you know the caramelization took place.

Who doesn’t want to have a delicious cupcake in the morning with coffee, or as a snack or dessert? These muffins won’t disappoint. They are just that good.

This recipe is courtesy of The Cupcake Diaries and will make 12 buttery, luxurious cupcakes.

Ingredients for Butter Kuchen Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

1/2 cup of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups, or grease the pan with butter if not using baking cups.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper and set aside. (I sifted mine into a bowl)

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

Add the vanilla to the milk in a large liquid measuring cup.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/3 of the milk, and mix thoroughly.


Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add the last third of the dry ingredients followed by the last third of milk.

Mix thoroughly.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan using a standard-size ice-cream scoop until each cup is two-thirds full.

For the Topping:

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and spoon it evenly on top of the batter in each cupcake well.

Bake for 16-18 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The cinnamon and sugar should have caramelized and be slightly crunchy to the touch.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

It’s that simple!

Let’s talk food for Super Bowl Sunday!

The final game of football season should be enjoyable for everyone. While I am not a big fan of the sport, I do love having all my friends and family over. I simply prefer to be in the kitchen cooking and chatting while my guests watch the game. 

When creating their menu, most people think: pizza, sloppy joes, chili, chicken wings or hoagies. This may not be a “traditional” recipe for the big game, but if you like to serve something healthy you’re going to want to add this to your selection.

I will definitely be preparing the basics as well this year, but it is nice to have a couple of healthy alternatives, especially for friends who are vegetarians.

I know there are also a lot of vegan eaters out there, so this recipe is perfect for you, too! Veggie balls are a great appetizer you can use for any occasion that everyone will happily indulge in. When I first started making them, my family would never have thought to choose them over chips and dip or pigs in a blanket. However, after making them for many different occasions these have become a fam-favorite!

Do not let the amount of ingredients intimidate you. Do your prep (mise-en-place) and these veggies balls will come together in no time at all. What’s even better: you can make them ahead of time and they freeze beautifully.

Go ahead and make these, they are so uniquely delicious your guests will be talking about for many Super Bowls to come!

Just a note: The pictures show more amounts than the recipe calls for – I was making them for Thanksgiving and I had to make 100!

This recipe is courtesy of “The Meatball Shop” cookbook by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow. It will make 24 servings for your family and friends who will be sure to become veggie ball lovers.

Ingredients for Veggie Balls

2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. salt 
3 tbsp. tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh walnuts

Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft, (but not falling apart), about 25 minutes.

Drain the lentils and allow to cool.

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.

Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. 

When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.

Add the eggs, parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, and walnuts to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface.

Set aside.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball size “meatballs” (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mix firmly.

Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4-inch of space between the balls and place them in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

It’s that simple!

Farro is an ancient whole grain, similar to barley and quinoa that has been eaten for many generations. Commonly found in Mediterranean, Ethiopian and Middle Eastern cuisines, farro has recently gained popularity as a great source of nutrition because it is fat-free, cholesterol-free, but not gluten-free. It is also a great source of iron and high in fiber and protein. Similar to barley, farro has a mild taste and chewy texture and is just plain delicious. Have I convinced you to try it yet?

Like other whole grains, farro is easy to cook. You may want to soak it overnight to shorten the cooking time, but you really don’t need to. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes if you soak it, and 25 to 30 minutes if you don’t.

I loved this particular recipe because of the different textures that were combined. The lemon zest added a tangy flavor and the crushed red pepper further enhanced the flavor with just the perfect amount of heat. You could also add some grated cheese or toasted pine nuts. Any way you make this recipe it will be wonderful! I am now a farro-lover and I think you will be too.

This recipe is courtesy of Michael’s Genuine Food. It will serve 4 people who may indeed, become farro lovers too!

Ingredients for Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Farro, Crushed Red Pepper, and Lemon

1/2 cup farro
2 pounds broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves. minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon 

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the farro, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover.

Simmer until the farro is tender and the grains have split open, about 30 minutes.

Keeping the cooking water in the pot, remove the farro from the pot with a spider strainer or mesh sieve, put it in a colander, and rinse with cool water.

Set aside.

Bring the cooking liquid back up to a boil and season again with salt.

The farro will have soaked up much of the original seasoning.

Boil the broccoli rabe until just tender, about 3 minutes.

Drain in a colander.

Set a large skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.

When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to soften.

Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Toss the rabe to coat with the oil and cook until tender, roughly 5 minutes.

Add the drained farro, tossing to combine, and sauté for another minute until heated through.

To serve, place the broccoli rabe and farro on a nice platter.

Finely grate lemon zest over the top, preferably with a Microplane.

It’s that simple!

Like many people, I am a huge fan of apple pie. When I saw this recipe for apple pie bars that can be eaten for breakfast or for a snack, I knew I was going to make them immediately. 

Words can’t accurately describe this scrumptious, decadent dessert. The delicious, sweet crust is a perfect container for the apples. It is then topped with two kinds of apples that are a wonderful combination of tart, sweet and savory. The topping adds a mixture of walnuts and cinnamon. 

Each bite is better than the first. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one. Feel free to add any ice cream of your choice, or some gooey caramel. These bars are going to be delicious any way you choose to eat them.

This is a perfect dessert to bring to any holiday celebration. Don’t let all the steps intimidate you.  It may seem like a lot of work, but in reality, these bars are pretty easy to make. Perhaps you should make two of them, because these dreamy little bars are going to go quickly.

This recipe is courtesy of Ina’s, from her book, Cooking for Jeffery. This recipe will make 12 bars. Be sure to save a couple for yourself, because everyone is going to want seconds!

Ingredients for Apple Pie Bars

For the crust:

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the apple filling:

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored and slice 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust:

Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.

Sift the flour and the salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add it to the butter-sugar mixture, being until combined.

Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling:

Combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and the lemon juice in a very large bowl.

Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.

Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Pinch medium pieces of  the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned.

Cool completely and cut into bars.

It’s that simple!

This recipe appealed to me because of its enticing combination of ingredients. It is a perfect recipe for fall.

The Brussels sprouts and onions are roasted, until they are beautifully browned and caramelized. Once the apples are added, the recipe takes on an entirely new, rich depth of flavor. Finally, it is topped with honey roasted pecans. The result is a fantastic, savory dish which exceeded my expectations. 

This is a simple recipe. The only thing you have to be very careful about is roasting the pecans. You really need to set your timer and be vigilant about checking them. They tend to burn easily if you are not careful. The honey roasted pecans add a layer of nutty, salty crunch. They are so delicious, you might find yourself popping one or two in your mouth! Just make sure to leave some for the Brussels sprouts.

When roasting the Brussels sprouts, check them as well, and remove them from the oven when the tops are browned, and the sides are still a beautiful shade of green. This will ensure that they are not overcooked.

This is a recipe that I will definitely be making again. It might even make it to my Thanksgiving menu next year!

This recipe is courtesy of The Meatball Shop cookbook and will serve 4-6 people who will be delighted with this different, delicious, new combination of ingredients!

Ingredients for the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Honey-Roasted Pecans

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt or to taste
2 baking apples, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1 cup honey roasted pecans (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Honey Roasted Pecans:

1 cup pecan halves
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on the honey, add the salt and toss to coat.

Roast, tossing every 5 minutes, until the pecans are deep brown, well roasted, and emit a strong, nutty aroma, about 20 minutes.

Remove pecans from the oven and allow to cool before using or serving.

For the Brussels Sprouts:

Preheat oven to 500.

Place the Brussels sprouts and onions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. (I cheated and used an aluminum pan. Feel free to do the same. Easier clean-up!)

Add the olive oil and salt, and toss to coat.

Roast until the Brussels sprouts begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Add the apples, mix, and return to the oven. 

Continue roasting, turning every 10 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts and onions are fully cooked and tender and the apples are beginning to soften, about 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, add the vinegar, and toss to incorporate.

Season with additional salt, if desired, and transfer to a platter.

Top with the pecans and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

It’s that simple!