Almond Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from Leith Hall bed and breakfast

Our guests who just left Leith Hall bed and breakfast yesterdayalmond chocolate sandwich cookies asked for the recipe for these almond and chocolate sandwich cookies that I served for tea – so these are for you, Stephanie and Michael von M . You could, of course, substitute coconut extract for the almond, or lemon extract, or orange. If you used coconut extract, you could also roll the filled cookie in toasted coconut for decoration. You can also roll the pre-baked dough balls in sugar to give the cookies a crunchy crust.

Almond Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Leith Hall’s Buttery better-than Moon Pies

1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut up

½ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

Filling:

½ cup 60% (minimum) chocolate

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Beat butter and sugars together. Beat in extracts and egg. Mix flour, Leith Hall butter Almond Chocolate sandwich cookiessalt, and baking powder together. Beat flour mixture into batter until just moistened and smooth. I use a small dough scoop to get perfectly even hemispheres of dough. That way, they are even size to make neat sandwich cookies. Arrange on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for almond chocolate sandwich cookies8 to 12 minutes at 375 F. degrees. They should be just lightly colored around the edges.

Melt butter and chocolate together and mix. After the cookies are absolutely cool, make sandwich cookies and store in refrigerator (if it’s summer) until you serve them.

This same recipe can be made with lemon extract and pignoli to make wonderful unfilled Italian cookies. Or, you could use hazelnut extract and use Nutella for the filling.

 

 

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Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Cherry Cake

Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Cherry Cake

I recently served this rich chocolate cherry cake at Leith Hall at Leith Hall bed and breakfast rich chocolate cherry caketeatime. Our guests asked for the recipe, so here it is. I bake it in a glass bundt pan, but it would work in any ring-shaped pan, or in two nine-inch round cake pans with a frosting or icing.

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (I use Droste’s, Rademaker, or Van Houten)
  • 2 cups sugarLeith Hall bed and breakfast rich chocolate cherry cake Cape May
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • ½ cup dried cherries, dusted with flour
  • 1 jar of cherry preserves

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat the sugar, oil coffee, milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture and beat in. Fold in the dried cherries. Turn into a greased and floured bundt pan. Place a ring of cherry preserves on top of the batter by teaspoonsfull . As the cake bakes, it will sink toward the bottom.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Check the cake by prodding with a finger. It should spring back and seem fully baked and cakelike. Add time as needed.

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LEITH HALL’S SINFULLY RICH ORANGE AND CREAM CAKE

This past week, our guests devoured this cake and a cherry devil’s food cake at afternoon tea. They asked for the recipe for both cakes. This is the orange one, which is flavored with sour cream and orange marmalade and tastes like a Creamsicle pop. The chocolate recipe will follow in a later post.  I hope that you enjoy them at Syracuse!

I use a glass tube pan to bake this cake in, so that I can keep an eye on the color, (it has to get golden brown to be fully baked in the center)  but you can use any pan that you have. If you use layer cake pans, it will take less time.

Leith Hall’s Orange and Cream Cake

  • 2 cups unbleached flourLeith Hall orange and cream cake Cape May
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Tube pan, greased and floured
  • 350 degrees    30—35 minutes. Check for doneness and add time if needed.Leith Hall orange and cream cake Cape May

Mix the flour, baking  powder and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter with the sugar, then the orange marmalade, then the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the flavorings, then the sour cream. Beat in the flour mixture and the milk, alternately to make a smooth batter. Turn into the pan, bake until the cake is golden (darkish brown) and springs back firmly when poked with a fingertip.

I serve this cake right-side up without an icing. You could drizzle an icing made of Leith Hall orange and cream cake Cape Maypowdered sugar, orange juice and melted butter on top; or you could sprinkle it with powdered sugar for decoration.

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A TALE OF TWO CHEESECAKES

 

Jewish and Siciliano New York

This cheesecake is trying to reproduce one made by an old college friend, Kenny

New York Cheesecakes at cape may bed and breakfast
New York Cheesecake

Kleinrock’s mother. She approached the task as a scientific experiment, trying many variations ’till she found the perfect, the archetypal, the uber-cheesecake. She found that the definitive cheesecake had to have both lemon and orange flavor in it, to cut the extreme richness.

New York Cheesecakes

To make the crust

1 cup. (4 oz) graham cracker crumbs (or 4 whole crackers and food-processed)

1 Tbs. sugar

5 Tbs. unsalted butter melted, plus 1 Tbs. for buttering pan

Combine above and press into bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 f. to 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling

To make the filling

2 ½ lbs. cream cheese at room temperature

1/8 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups (10 ½ oz) sugar

1/3 cup (2 ½ oz) sour cream

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 egg yolks plus 6 eggs

1 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. orange zest, grated.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, scrape, beat in salt and sugar, scrape. Add sour cream lemon juice, vanilla, and zest. Beat and scrape.

Add eggs one at a time. Beat and scrape.

Bake on rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 500 F. for 10 minutes. Turn down oven to 200 F. and bake approx 1 ½ hours (instant read thermometer 150 F) Run paring knife around cake. Cool 2 ½ to 3 hours. Wrap in pan and cool at least 3 hours, or overnight

New York and Palermo

Crostata di Ricotta, cheesecake in Cape May
Crostata di Ricotta

When I was a child in New York, you could get Sicilian cheesecake is every Italian bakery. A few years ago, Suzie and I spent a month traveling around Sicily and I was on a mission to find this old-fashioned dessert. Everywhere, I ordered Cassata alla Siciliana, and all’antica. Usually I got a ricotta dessert held together with lime-green jello. Sometimes I got spongecake layered with cannolli cream. Never did I get the old fashioned cheesecake of my childhood. The closest was a Cassata di Ricotta in Palermo, which was a pie with the ricotta and candied fruit filling

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake at Leith Hall bed and breakfast
Ricotta Cheesecake

3 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese, drained

2 cups sugar

8 egg yolks

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg whites, beaten till soft peaks form

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

1/2-1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest

3/4 cup candied and dried fruit, chopped. (candied citron,Candied fruit in Palermo in cheesecakes

dried pineapple, golden raisins, candied orange rind, etc.)

1  double recipe pie crust

Line a 12″ springform pan with the pie crust. In an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, sugar, flour, egg yolks, lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix in the candied fruits. Remove from mixer and fold in whipped egg whites and cream. Pour into crust-lined springform pan. Bake at 425 F. for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F. and bake for one hour. Turn off oven and don’t open it. Allow to cool in oven for three hours. Then refrigerate.

 

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CAPE MAY RASPBERRY SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE for Donna B.

A recent Leith Hall b&b guest, Donna B.,  emailed me for two recipesbed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake for treats that we serve at afternoon tea. The first was Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread which was in an earlier post, and this is the second – Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Of course, you could substitute any other preserves, but then it would be apricot or orange coffee cake.

 Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter

4 cups all-purpose flouregg for Raspberry sour cream coffee cake

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1/3 cup sour cream

1 small jar of raspberry preservesraspberry preserves

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooledbrown sugar for Leith Hall raspberry sour cream coffee cake

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 

Line a 9”x11” baking pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray.

Mix 1 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil or butter, 1/3 cup sour cream, and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.  Drop raspberry preserves over batter by random teaspoons full. Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.Cape May bed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake

Transfer pan to oven, and bake for about 23 minutes. . Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean or cake springs back when prodded with a finger.

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Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread for Donna B.

Recently one of our guests at Leith Hall b&b contacted me to requestLeith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread two recipes we serve at afternoon tea. This one, Leith Hall’s Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread, is for Donna. It has bits of crystallized ginger in it for an extra sharp bite. Sometimes I ice it with a bittersweet chocolate and butter icing (which I’ll put on almost anything) and sometimes I’ll sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar through a paper doily laid on top of the gingerbread. We always have one chocolate and one non-chocolate treat at teatime. Suzie would never forgive me if I left out the chocolate, and we sometimes have guests who (sadly) don’t like chocolate.

Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup crystallized ginger, cut into tiny slicescrystallized ginger for Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread

 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

 1/2 teaspoon salt

 1 cup hot water

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F   Line a 9 “square pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray

In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Beat into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the gingerbread springs back when prodded with a fingertip. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Cape May bed and breakfastDid you know that wooden house trim is called gingerbread because gingerbread was once very heavily decorated? During the Middle Ages, ginger was fabulously expensive and gingerbread was a desert at Royal and Noble courts. Sometimes, it was ornamented with real gold leaf in elaborate swirls. When sawn wooden ornament was introduced in the nineteenth century, people started calling it gingerbread because it reminded them of Christmas gingerbread houses – which are the last vestige of great medieval gingerbread constructions. Architecture and dessert all in one, my favorite combination

 

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Roger and Judy’s Pumpkin Apricot Cake

Brave Leith Hall Guests Follow Elan’s Recipes

This past weekend, Roger and Judy, who visit us every year and are so much fun to talk to, Leith Hall guestsasked for the recipe for the pumpkin and apricot cake that I served for tea. The last time they followed one of my recipes (for banana chocolate cake) the chocolate exploded as it was poured into a bowl. Undeterred, they are willing to follow another recipe, no matter what the danger.

 PUMPKIN APRICOT CAKE

3 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar

½ c. white sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 c. dried apricots, cut into small slices

1 c. simple syrup made of 1 c. water boiled with 1 c. sugar

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing pumpkin apricot bundt cake at teatime at Leith Hall bed and breakfastwell.

Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured decorative bundt pans. I use a silicone fluted bundt ban and a variety of Teflon coated bundt pans.

pumpkin apricot cake at teatime at Leith Hall Cape MayBake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake springs back when prodded with a finger. Cool in pans. Dribble ½ c. simple syrup over each cake.  Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.

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Leith Hall ROMANTIC GETAWAY TRUFFLES

Chocolate championship at Leith Hall
photo by Edward Lea AC Press

We just had our third annual Spring Chocolate Championship yesterday and, once again, I didn’t win. You may remember that Chocolate Championship was my suggestion several years ago for MAC to start a new tour during Spring Festival. Any tour is improved by adding chocolate. Last year I made Julia Childs’ chocolate mousse, which is the best chocolate mousse ever, and yet I didn’t win. I consider it an insult to Julia Childs’ memory . (Maybe we can get Meryl Streep to protest.) This year, Anna Marie McMain won with with her Chocolate Delight. It must have been spectacular, ’cause my truffles were pretty darn good. Richard Degner wrote a very nice article in the Atlantic City Press about the contest and Leith Hall. You can have chocolate treats every day at teatime, if you make a reservation.

LEITH HALL

ROMANTIC GETAWAY TRUFFLES

I started making these chocolate truffles to include in our Romantic Getaway package. The basic recipe is incredibly easy, and depends on really good ingredients. The different flavors are created with extracts.

32 oz. (1 quart) heavy whipping cream

32 oz. by weight of bittersweet chocolate

1 Tbs. organic extract.

Melt the chocolate in the cream.  Use 60% to 72% chocolate. Use a very good brand Romantic Getaway chocolate trufflesbecause the quality of the truffles is entirely dependent upon the quality of the chocolate. I use Valrhona, Valor, Green and Black, Guittard or Ghirardelli. Don’t use Hershey’s or Nestlé’s.  You can microwave it for one minute at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula between minutes. Or you can melt the chocolate in an uncovered metal bowl over simmering water. Or you can melt it in a 200 degree Fahrenheit   oven.  It doesn’t matter. The important thing is not to overheat the mixture and to stir often.

Stir in the extract. I always use organic extract from the health food store. It really does taste better. You can use orange extract, peppermint extract, coconut extract, almond extract, or any other that you like. You can also double or triple the amount of extract.

Cool the melted chocolate mixture (ganache) in the refrigerator until it thickens. Whip it in a stand mixer. It will double in size and fluff in a few minutes. Scoop  the ganache into little balls with a little scoop. Put the balls onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate. Decorate the truffles by tossing in toasted coconut for coconut flavor, or toasted almond slivers for almond. You can toss any flavor in a mixture of cocoa and powdered sugar.

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CAPE MAY BEACH SHORTBREAD COOKIES DOWN THE SHORE

Cape May Beach Shortbread Cookies

These will remind you of vacations in Cape May
Cape May Beach Shortbread Cookies

These cookies look like the sand on the beach in Cape May. The sprinkle of sugar on top even gives them the texture of the sand on the beach in Cape May. The best things about them are that they are stunningly easy to make and the richest cookies you’ll ever eat. I usually make this recipe in a parchment lined 9”x13” pan and cut them into bars for serving at afternoon tea. You could halve the recipe and make them in an 8”x8” or 9”x9” teatime at Leith Hall bed and breakfastparchment lined pan. Or you can roll he dough out (thick) and make cookie cutter cookies.

chocolate teatime treats at Leith Hall b&bIf you prefer, you can substitute lemon extract for the orange, or use vanilla extract for plain shortbread or even coconut extract. I use organic extracts from the health food store because they really do taste better.

 

1 ½ lbs. unsalted butter (3 sticks) melted

2 cups sugar

1 tbs. orange extract

7 cups white unbleached flour

½ tsp. salt

Turbinado or white sugar for sprinkling

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix melted butter and orange extract. Mix flour mixture and butter together with a pastry blender, a rubber spatula, or a whisk. The idea is to cut the butter and flour together into crumbles, not to press them together into a dough. Dump the mixed crumbles into the lined baking dish. Press into an even layer with your finger-tips. Dock the dough by piercing it all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350F/degrees for about 20 minutes. The cookies are done when they are very light gold around the edges. Remove from oven and cut into bars or squares with a sharp knife immediately. Allow to cool in the pan completely before turning out.

I often serve these for tea at Leith Hall b&b. The other treat will always be something chocolate. If my other cake isn’t chocolate, I’ll dip the end of each shortbread bar in melted bittersweet chocolate. During the Summer when we’re sitting on the porch under the awnings, I know that Suzie will stage a insurrection if there’s no chocolate at teatime.

 

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Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson Conquer Cape May

We wanted to share some pictures from the March Sherlock Holmes weekend in Cape May. This time we had one of the actors, Pamela Burke, stay with us. Our guests really got into the mystery and several brought wonderful costumes!  Only in Cape May can a woman look perfect in a bustle and corset. Breakfast was fun with everyone discussing the clues and trying to get Pamela to cheat and give them some under-the-table help. She was good and refused to reveal the secrets.

Sherlock Holmes weekend at Leith Hall
Nancy and Jeff pouring sherry in Leith Hall’s parlor

Denise (in the middle in left picture) changed her outfit several times a day like a true Victorian woman – she looked absolutely wonderful. One of our guests, Jeff, was looking for a Victorian cane and found an entire Victorian morning coat outfit in his size. It looked great and fit perfectly.

To find out more about the Sherlock Holmes Weekends (in March and November every year), you can look at the website for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities or go directly to their Sherlock Holmes Weekends page.

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