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Powdered Sugar Cookies I

Reviewed: Sep. 12, 2006
First of all...I made one single change. I used Crisco shortening instead of oil. These cookies are amazing. When it says they melt in your mouth - they truly do. I chose this recipe from the many sugar cookie recipes because of the two ingredients that differ from the other sugar cookies - powdered sugar & cream of tartar. Those two ingredients act as tenderizers in a way and the result is a light, crunchy melt in your mouth cookie. So delicious. I used my metal ice cream scoop (that has the little release bar in it)and I simply scooped the dough onto the cookie sheet - then I sprinkled some colored sugar on top (didn't flatten them) and baked them. Sooo good! I had a recipe like this years ago and I lost it so I'm very glad to have found this one! One thing I should add though - these are not the kind of sugar cookies that would be good to roll out & cut with fancy cutters. The dough does not hold it's shape well enough for that.
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115 users found this review helpful

Irish Cream Bundt Cake

Reviewed: Sep. 14, 2005
I made this cake last night for my coworker's birthday. The only change I made is that I used toasted macadamia nuts instead of the pecans. Otherwise I followed this recipe very closely. It turned out beautifully. As for the glaze, you have to gradually put it on or it will end up at the bottom on the dish. I poked plenty of holes in the cake with a skewer, spooned a little glaze around the top, then took my pastry brush and liberally brushed the inside hole and all around the outside of the cake. I waited a few minutes then repeated that process, then waited a few minutes and repeated again etc. until the glaze was gone. The glaze hardened into a nice, shiny somewhat crunchy, moist and tasty topping. The macadamia nuts were wonderful and really added nice texture. By the next morning when the cake had cooled it was very attractive and it was easy to box up and transport (with no frosting to worry about messing up). I think next time I would try a cheaper irish cream because Baileys is soooo very expensive. For sipping I think the quality of Baileys is essential but for baking I would think that a cheaper brand would suffice. Another thing that's wonderful about this cake - it is very quick and easy to put together. Cake mixes are wonderful in a pinch but everyone at work thinks this cake was made from scratch!
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88 users found this review helpful
Photo by nilla

Apple Sheet Cake

Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2008
I just pulled my "apple sheet cake" out of the oven about an hour ago and already had a piece. It was delicious! The crust is not like your ordinary pie crust - it's more biscuit like (probably because there is baking powder in the crust). I think the crust might be a tad bit better if it had some sugar in it. It's plenty sweet with the apple filling & icing but the edges by themselves are not sweet enough. I made 1 1/2 recipes of the pastry because I suck at rolling out pie dough and I thought that rolling it out to the size of a jelly roll pan would be difficult for me. 1 1/2 recipes turned out to be perfect for me! I had enough dough to really get a nice looking edge to my crust that I could crimp nicely. It prevented any leaks of the filling and did not brown too much. The only small change I made in the recipe is to add one more tablespoon of flour in the filling because I was worried about it being too thin. I cut it when the pie/cake was still very warm and it did not ooze at all. Sliced very nicely. I prepared my filling before I started on my crust and so my filling had a chance to produce alot of juice at the bottom of the bowl which I left in the bowl as I scooped the apples into the crust. I've had so many pies with soggy bottom crusts that I tried hard to prevent it from happening again. I used 3 different kinds of apples and didn't weigh them but used about 7 or 8 medium apples. I sliced them very thinly because 30 minutes in the oven is not a long time
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60 users found this review helpful
Photo by nilla

Blue Ribbon Apple Cake

Reviewed: Jun. 30, 2009
This recipe is a wonderful way to use up some apples that have gotten a bit soft. I made mine in mini loaf pans instead of a bundt pan. I also topped the baked loaves with a vanilla icing. Great recipe. Be careful not to bake too long. The top still looks a bit wet when I removed them from the oven, even though they were thoroughly baked. Besides the peeling and slicing of the apples, this is a quick recipe to put together.
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38 users found this review helpful
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Dark Chocolate Cake I

Reviewed: Sep. 6, 2008
Wow Wow!! This cake is awesome! I bake just about every day and have tried dozens of chocolate cake recipes. This cake is easy to put together, has deep chocolate flavor, is moist and is just sweet enough. The recipe calls for 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. I used about 1/2 cup regular unsweetened cocoa powder and the other 1/2 cup was King Arthur Flours BLACK cocoa powder which is just about black in color and is SUPER dark chocolate. As you can see from my photo - my cake is VERY dark chocolate. I can't believe some folks say theirs is dry - mine is very moist and fine crumbed. I used my 3 layers for a tuxedo cake. Filled and frosted with the white marshmallowy type of frosting and then spread chocolate glaze on top and down the sides. It's honestly one of the best cakes I've ever made. Completely delicious. This recipe fills 3 pans nicely. The cake does not dome very much and upon cooling - actually flattens out. I recommend this recipe. Superb and easy.
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28 users found this review helpful
Photo by nilla

White Almond Wedding Cake

Reviewed: Jul. 28, 2010
Although this recipe has a cake mix base, it's kind of a "from scatch" reicpe. I've always loved the tenderness of cake mix cakes but I'm also a fan of baking from scratch. I think this recipe takes the good qualities from the cake mix and combines them with the good flavor of a scratch cake. And this recipe is not nearly as quick to put together as a regular mix cake. It takes a while to gather all the ingredients - especially separating the 8 eggs (I made double recipe) - but it's worth it. It really is a spectacular cake.I've been looking for an excellent white cake recipe forever and I think this is it. It's very white - make sure you use CLEAR vanilla extract and only the egg WHITES. The texture is very tender but not so light and fluffy that you can't easily work with the layers. It's rather sturdy. It's just moist enough. It's certainly not dry at all but it's not so moist that it's sticky at all. Some reviewers claimed that it was crumbly - mine was so far from that. Not crumbly at all. To ensure even baking, I used my baking strips on each of my cake pans AND I baked them on a double layer of baking sheets. I doubled the recipe and it made four 9 inch pans - pretty thick layers. I did not want such a strong almond flavor so I used more vanilla and less almond. The 2nd time I used cake flour instead of AP. I prefer the cake flour, it made it incredibly tender. It's excellent. Be sure to use a cake mix with NO added pudding. Like Duncan Hines White.
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27 users found this review helpful
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Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Reviewed: Jan. 31, 2010
I'm rating the actual cheesecake part because I went with a traditional graham cracker crust instead of the vanilla sandwich cookie crust. I had just found a super good buy on fresh vanilla beans and was searching for the perfect recipe to showcase them. This is the recipe I chose and it is delicious! It's a somewhat dense cheesecake - not light or fluffy in any way. Even though I put the seeds of 3 whole vanilla beans into my cheesecake batter, the telltale black specks were not evident. But even so, the flavor was out of this world. I must comment on the baking time though. My cheesecake ended up being in the oven for close to 2 hours even though the recipe states 1 hour 20 minutes. I was so worried it would be dry but I shouldn't have worried. I turned off the oven when the very middle of the cheesecake was only slightly still jiggly and then left it in the turned off oven, with the oven door ajar, for another hour. Then I wrapped it well (still in the unmolded springform pan) in plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge overnight. Let me add that after it had cooled all night the middle was slightly lower than the sides so it wasn't the prettiest cheesecake and I'm not sure what caused that sinking but it didn't effect the texture or flavor. In fact, the texture of the cheesecake was very even throughout - whether next to the crust or in the middle of the cake. I topped mine with a lovely seedless raspberry sauce. Delicious!
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25 users found this review helpful
Photo by nilla

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Reviewed: Jul. 29, 2008
This bread is so easy to make - quick to put together also. I made a double recipe and it made 12 mini loaf pans. For the double recipe I used 1 cup melted butter and 1 cup veg oil (that's the only major change I made). I love the taste of butter but I've come to realize that oil creates such a nice moistness & texture for quick breads so I figured that a combination of the 2 fats would be ideal. I personally think that a bit more spice is needed in this recipe and I usually am not one to prefer spice. For a couple of my loaves I sprinkled a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon and granulated sugar on top before they went into the oven. It created a nice, slightly crunchy streusel like texture and added a bit more spice. I think I would continue to sprinkle that on top if I made this again. I left out the walnuts on some also and since I do not care for nuts, I preferred the nutless loaves. But this recipe and it's lovely spicy aroma reminds me of fall, except that I'm using my summer zucchini! It's very tasty and quick and probably pretty versatile - like if you wanted to add coconut or chocolate chips or dried cranberries etc. I'm rating it 4 stars instead of 5 because I think a bit more spice is needed but I DO think you should give this a try. It's a great way to use up the zucchini. For my double recipe I used an entire medium size zucchini.
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24 users found this review helpful

Cream Wafers

Reviewed: Jan. 15, 2008
At first I didn't understand this recipe. How can you have a shortbread like cookie with no sugar in it? BUT I made it and it was wonderful. I made one small change and that was to add a little vanilla to the dough. Since you coat the cut out cookie with sugar on both sides, that gives it enough sweetness. The cookies are flakey and buttery with so much flavor. I used a sanding sugar which added a bit of sparkle. When it came to the filling, I did not use the recipe listed - I used my basic buttercream recipe and I thinned it a little with my left over heavy whipping cream. I did not feel too good about making the filling recipe with the raw egg. I'm sure it would be safe but it just didn't sound tasty. And when you put everything together - it's a beautiful little cookie. They look pretty fancy! I took one reviewers suggestion and put a small dab of raspberry jam on one side of the cookie before I added the buttercream filling. Actually, I didn't think they were very time consuming like some reveiwers said and I made a double recipe. I bake all the time and do some pretty complicated recipes so the time spent on these seemed very reasonable. These would make a beautiful gift.
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23 users found this review helpful

White Velvet Cutouts

Reviewed: Nov. 30, 2005
I thought these were exceptionally tasty but my family thought they were only ok. I make many different recipes of sugar cookies and this was not one of their favorites (but I suppose it's not to be thought of as a sugar cookie). I also found the dough to be extremely sticky. Yes, refrigeration helps but it's still a very sticky dough. I rolled it between 2 sheets of parchment and used flour. After I rolled it between the 2 sheets of parchment I placed that whole layer on a cookie sheet and placed in the freezer for about 15 minutes - this made the cookie cutter's job alot easier especially since the shapes that I was making were somewhat ornate. If you are decorating your cookies with detail then I think this is a good recipe because the cookie does not lose it's shape while baking. You can definitely taste the cream cheese in these cookies. They are delicious but it does not taste like a true sugar cookie if that is what you are looking for.
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23 users found this review helpful

Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake

Reviewed: Aug. 7, 2008
I had lots of extra zucchini from the garden that I needed to use. I chose this recipe because it's easy and would use a fair amount of the zucchini. I used the exact ingredients called for in the recipe except that I put them into muffin tins instead of a sheet pan. The good things about this recipe: Perfect looking cupcakes - nice domed top. They bake evenly. Very moist. I added a handful of semi sweet chocolate chips in some of the cupcakes and that was an awesome addition. The negative things about this cake: It's not very chocolately. I guess I could have just added more cocoa but maybe some melted chocolate would have been better? There is another chocolate zucchini recipe on this site that uses melted chocolate and I've tried that recipe and it's excellent but I chose this one because it looked easier. It's very easy and quick to put together but I think it needs a deeper chocolate for the cake part. The frosting recipe is good/average. It's not a deep chocolate either but it's acceptable. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a dark chocolate person, I actually prefer milk chocolate but I guess I'm looking for a deeper flavor of chocolate.
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14 users found this review helpful

Fresh Raspberry Pie

Reviewed: Jul. 9, 2008
I absolutely love this pie. It's super easy and really highlights the flavor & freshness of the berries because most of the berries that are in the pie are not cooked. I made 2 pies - one I topped with Cool Whip and the other with whipped cream. They were both delicious. I did add a bit more sugar than called for because my fresh berries were SUPER tart. I usually make my own crust but this time I was lazy and bought the Maria Callanders frozen crust. I must admit, it was a pretty tasty crust. The pie would be really attractive if you piped on the whipped cream in some sort of pattern. I just smeared it on the top. I did put a touch of vanilla into my cream while whipping it but I think it would be better without it. After I whipped the cream and put it on top of the pie I thought "More whip cream is needed!". So I made another batch and smeared that on top as well. Nice and thick! Yummy! UPDATE: I just tried this with fresh blueberries. It's good but I think the amount of sugar that's used for raspberries is not necessary for the blueberries. Blueberries are not as tart so my pie is a bit sweet and could probably use a big splash of lemon. The filling seems to be thicker too - is that because raspberries are more watery than blueberries? Maybe I need to cut down on the cornstarch for the blueberry version. Anyways, it's delicious either way and I'm sure that blackberry would be equally delish.
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11 users found this review helpful

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Reviewed: Aug. 19, 2007
Ok, I'm pretty speechless right now. Actually it's because I'm stuffing my face with these Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies. I just got through baking these and they are out of this world. I live in Seattle and one of Tom Douglas' restaurants, Dahlia Lounge (the bakery part,) has chocolate truffle cookies that I have eaten and loved for so long. I have looked and looked for a recipe that is just as good and I think I've found it. They are so decadent. They only change I made was to throw in a handful of mini chocolate chips after I mixed the dough and before it sat for 30 minutes. I wanted a little texture in there. They seem to be not fully baked when you remove them from the oven but after they sat for about 15 minutes they were perfect. I used a cookie scoop so they were all the same size. I baked them for exactly 11 minutes and that was just right. Since mine were slightly bigger than what was suggested - I only got 34 cookies out of it. When I was mixing the flour/cocoa in by hand, it seemed like there was too much to mix in. I mixed and mixed and it eventually was incorporated but it took awhile. I usually am not a lover of dark chocolate but these are smooth and tasty and I am in love with them. They would make a great gift for a chocolate loving friend. It's kind of like eating a piece of fudge and brownie and cookie all at the same time. I highly recommend them.
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9 users found this review helpful

Pastry Cream

Reviewed: Aug. 3, 2010
I bake all the time - almost every day but I don't often make pastry cream. The only reason I made this recipe was because I had a lot of egg yolks leftover from a cake I had made. This recipe is very simple and rather quick to make. I followed all directions except that I added an extra splash of vanilla at the end. My pastry cream is in a bowl chilling in the refrigerator right now with plastic wrap on top. After I had cooked it, I left it in the pan for a bit so I would not be putting hot pudding directly into the cold fridge but it quickly started developing a skin. So make sure you get that plastic on there quickly. I think I might have to push it through a sieve before I use it. It's certainly not lumpy but I think it could probably be a bit smoother. The vanilla beans are a nice touch - flavor wise and visually. It's nice to see those little dark specks in the cream. I used whole milk and I think it might even be better if you were to use half n half. I can't imagine that 2%, 1% or especially nonfat would be very good. Maybe 2% but not less than that. The pastry cream really benefits from the fat that the milk adds and also the butter. Don't leave out the butter. I can eat this right off the spoon and it's certainly delicious but I don't think it's quite sweet enough to pass as pudding. As a filling it would be great. I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for yet. Maybe as a filling for a Boston cream pie?
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7 users found this review helpful

Caramels

Reviewed: Dec. 20, 2008
I'm so upset. I made a double batch of this caramel because I thought it sounded like a sure thing. I was going to include some creamy caramels in my Christmas goodie boxes that I give away each year. Well, I now have 2 large pans of toffee. It is THAT hard. I can chip away at it and get a little shard of toffee. I started by callibrating my thermometer. Then I read the reviews and decided to bring it to somewhere around 240-245 to make sure I get a soft & creamy consistency and I am not exaggerating when I say it took 2 1/2 hours to bring it to that temperature (and I started the caramels at 11:00 pm - I was not happy at the end). I stirred constantly for 2 1/2 hours! I had the heat adjusted to between 5-6 - I really wanted to prevent scorching. At the end I could tell it was not going to be creamy. I should have done the test where I drop a bit in cold water. I'm so disapppointed and TIRED. I guess I will have to find a recipe that takes a lot of toffee bits. I don't know what to assume about the suggested temperature for this recipe. It did NOT work for me.
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7 users found this review helpful

Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Reviewed: Sep. 12, 2005
I think this recipe has wonderful flavor. I don't understand why other reviewers are calling it bland. Maybe they did not add enough vanilla. I must admit - I'm always a little heavy handed with the vanilla. I used my frosting for an orange layer cake so I added just a splash of orange extract also. The reason I rated it a 4 instead of a 5 is because of the sugar choice. I can't figure out why this recipe uses granulated sugar and not confectioners/powdered sugar. The granulated sugar results taste fine but the granules were noticable in the frosting. My thought is that a powdered sugar would produce a much smoother and non gritty frosting. But don't let that comment stop you from making this frosting. It's very very tasty and a wonderful idea and a welcome change from the traditional heavy cream cheese frosting. The whipped cream adds such a fluffiness to the frosting and the results of this frosting are PURE white which is hard to get when you make a buttercream recipe because butter is yellow. But to make it pure white you must use the "clear vanilla extract". I would say this frosting will go well on any cake recipe you choose. I'm sure it would be an ideal recipe to flavor with wonderful extracts also. Try it!
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7 users found this review helpful
Photo by nilla

Pineapple Coconut Zucchini Bread

Reviewed: Aug. 19, 2010
This recipe is wonderful but I think it need more spices. Not different spices, just more of what it already calls for. I added almost twice as much and it was still pretty subtle spice flavor. I made some into muffins and some in mini loaf pans. I added walnuts on top of some and left others without. It's definitely ultra moist, it would almost be difficult to overbake this. I like my quick breads really moist and tend to take them out earlier than most people - before the toothpick comes out clean. With this bread, make sure it's all the way done otherwise it turns kind of gummy after sitting overnight but still really really delicious.
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6 users found this review helpful

Chicken Milano

Reviewed: Jan. 5, 2009
I chose this recipe because I had a carton of cream to use and a family pack of chicken breasts. What a perfect recipe this was to try! This was definitely a tasty dish. You won't get by with just one or two dirty pans - it produces a lot of dirty dishes! Before I made this recipe, I checked out the other reviews and took notes. You MUST make a double recipe of the sauce. The sauce would be enough for maybe just the chicken by itself but if you serve the noodles underneath the chicken, more sauce is needed. I agree with others that the sauce DOES need to be thickened. I followed a couple of suggestions - I added two big handfuls of parmesean cheese - plus I used cornstarch to thicken it. Both worked wonderfully. I also added some mushrooms to the sauce when I added the sundried tomatoes. I might think of cutting back on the sundried tomatoes next time. Although they do contribute delicious flavor to the dish, there are just a bit too many of them. I liked another reviewers suggestion about using fresh tomatoes but instead of putting them into the sauce, I sprinkled some chopped tomatoes on top of my chicken & pasta after I plated it. Yummy! This is a dish that the whole family will enjoy. It's like an alfredo sauce with a bit of spice added. I recommend it.
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6 users found this review helpful

Lemon Fiesta Cake

Reviewed: Aug. 10, 2008
I'm only rating the actual cake part of this recipe. I did not make the butter/lemon glaze that goes on top. I instead made a lemon buttercream that I frosted it with. For the cake part, I pretty much left the recipe as is except that I left out the raisins (no one in my family likes them and I can't imagine lemon with raisins?). The cake was fine - with a light & fluffy texture and it was moist. The cake does not taste really lemony by itself. With the icing it tastes better (I put lemon juice & lemon extract in my icing). If you are looking for a basic lemon cake recipe, this one will do but I bet you can find something better. If you don't like a really sweet cake, then you might like this cake. It's not sweet by itself but with the frosting (or glaze I'm sure) it's extra sweet. Just how I like it. I will probably not make this again.
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6 users found this review helpful

Kentucky Butter Cake

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2010
This is basically a poundcake with a buttery glaze. I used cake flour & it made my cake have a much lighter & finer crumb than if I had used all purpose. I also sifted all of my dry ingredients before putting them in the mixing bowl (but I didn't sift the sugrar). I think sifting really helps create a soft & fluffy texture. I think it could use a little bigger splash of vanilla or maybe even a vanilla bean but otherwise, this is a great and simple recipe. I DID follow the odd instructions that tell you to place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and THEN add the buttermilk, butter, eggs & vanilla. That is a really strange process for a cake but ya know, it worked well. I don't think it would have worked well if my butter had not been super soft so make sure your butter is very soft. I put my butter in the microwave on defrost. I made my cake in mini bundt pans. They turned out so cute and moist and make a perfect individual dessert. The glaze is buttery and delicious but I'm sure this cake would be great with a berry sauce on top. So for a really basic, easy, delicious pound cake - this is a great recipe to try. Make sure to keep your oven on the low temp suggested in the recipe - 325 degrees.
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5 users found this review helpful

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