Merry Christmas, Merry Baking everyone! I’m back in the kitchen stirring up bowls of holiday goodies to share with coworkers and friends. Take time out to do something special for those you care about.Continue reading…
What would Valentine’s Day be without a chocolatey yummy something shared with your special sweetie? Our year here at The Log Home Kitchen started out being hectic with many necessary trips out-of-town, so I offer you five of my tried-and-true Best Valentine Desserts that even Cupid would approve.Continue reading…
I’ve partnered with Krusteaz this season to help make your life a little easier during the hectic Christmas rush. Their line of bakery-style cookie mixes may be just the ticket to bring good cheer to those on your gift-giving list.
Do you ever have those times that everything falls apart in threes? With a burned-out bread machine, an overloaded computer, and a nasty head cold, I offer you a lovely recipe I posted last year at this time your guests will love.Continue reading…
You know those fancy cake rolls with pumpkin and cream that we all drool over? Some of us might find them a bit tedious or intimidating to make. You’ll love this easy tried-and-true version I’ve used for years. Come on in and check it out.
How does a buttery, flaky, tender crust filled with sweet peaches sound? Peaches have been oh so ripe for the pickin’. With a fresh picked bushel, I thought I’d share with you the perfect recipe to Celebrate National Peach Pie Day! Continue reading…
Cherries are ripe for the picking, even in our own backyard. With a meager yield, I made this easy, mouthwatering Cherry Cobbler Jubilee that has a special little nip to it.
This is for all of my mommy and grammy friends out there. Kids of all ages are gonna love these crispy, soft and chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Healthy Goodies. Using mindful swaps from a favorite recipe, I’ve turned ordinary oatmeal cookies into flavorful, more healthy ones.
Are you gluten intolerant? Whether you are or aren’t, a simple list of ingredients makes this berry-bursting tart super easy to put together. It’s delicious and gluten-free.
The price of colored sugar is pretty high. Especially when you’re looking for very specific colors for purposes of food decorating. I found this to be the case when I started to make a King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras. Purple, green and yellow were the three I needed, and only a tablespoon of each if that. I found it to be ridiculous at 2 dollars a pop or more for each color. That is, if I could find them.
Save yourself alot of money. As in lots of dough. Read on to see how easy it is to make your own colored sugar.
Whether you have a craft store or supermarket right around the corner, or you’re like me, living in the middle of Timbuktu, why put a big hole in your wallet for just a spoonful of this color and that?
The French call it pots de creme (pronounced po de krem), meaning a pot of custard or pot of creme. With all the fancy shmancy aside, these jars are filled with a chocolate-spiced custard that’s firm, rich, smooth and velvety. A little goes a long way in the decadence department.
Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a quick-to-make dessert that will swoon your dinner company, impress them with this easy blender-made version.
All that’s needed are a few small mason jars, drink glasses, or ramekins (little round white ceramic bowls) to pour the hot pudding in. After they set-up in the fridge for a few hours, you can top them with a variety of adornments like fruit, candies, nuts, and whipped cream.
I prefer a simple version with fresh whipped cream, and maybe a strawberry or two. Chocolate shavings are a nice touch, too.
It all comes together within a matter of minutes. What I did was put chocolate chips, room temperature eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in the blender, then gave it all a good whir until everything was mixed thoroughly.
I heated coffee from the morning’s brew in the microwave until it was almost boiling. Then I revved up the blender again and slowly and steadily poured it in until it was completely incorporated. That’s it! Easy and quick.
No spoons or bowl required here. All you have to do is pour the mixture into your serving dishes of choice then pop them in the fridge to set up.
Recently I had picked up a couple of very old Hazel Atlas jelly jars from an antique dealer for a few dollars. I wasn’t sure what I would use them for, other than I love to collect old jars. They made for perfect containers to put the custard in (pictured in foreground).
To make it easier sliding them in and out of the refrigerator, I suggest you put them in something flat. I just used an inverted cake pan cover which did the trick very nicely.
The inspiration for making these little pots de creme came from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She’s made them a few times. They looked so good, I had to give them a try, with my own spin on the recipe of course. Why haven’t I made these before?
I had a little bit of fun dressing them up with some chopped strawberries tossed in granulated sugar, and made some fresh whipping cream that only took a few minutes to mix. There just happened to be a dark chocolate bar in the cupboard, of which I happily snatched to use for a garnish.
There’s really no limit of creativity, so have fun! Think of it as having a bowl of chocolate ice cream. What would you put on it? Some nuts, hot fudge sauce, or whatever you might have on hand.
It just so happened a few hungry taste testers showed up that were happy to offer their services. With thumbs up, the jars were empty in no time, and all I could hear was the clinking of spoons at the bottom.
These little jars of sweet happiness are going to become a standard in my kitchen. They’re just perfect for when you want a bit of something, but not too much.
And should you decide to serve these pots of chocolatey yumminess for your Valentine, I suspect you’ll receive more than compliments in return.
Here’s the recipe I adapted with a short list of ingredients.
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup hot strong coffee
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Whipping cream (prepared or from carton) for garnish
- Dark chocolate bar for garnish
- Prepare ½-pint size jars or small bowls. Wash and dry thoroughly. Place on a cooling rack.
- In a blender, combine the chocolate chips, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon until well blended.
- Microwave coffee for 2 to 2½ minutes until almost to a boil. It should be very hot.
- With the blender running, slowly pour the coffee into the mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
- Carefully pour approximately ½ cup each into prepared serving containers.
- Place in refrigerator and allow to chill for 2-3 hours or until firmly set.
- Meanwhile chop strawberries and place in small bowl. Reserve whole ones for garnish.
- Toss with sugar and refrigerate.
- When pudding is set, garnish as desired and serve.
What are your Valentine’s Day plans?
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Chocolate is believed to be an aphrodisiac, so if Cupid has struck an arrow in your heart, a Chocolate Velvet Cake might be the perfect ending to a sweetheart’s dinner. As they say in Italy, that’s amore!
Uncomplicated, this chocolate cake stands on it’s own in flavor and texture. A light dusting of confectioners sugar gives it a delicate sweet finish. With plump ruby red strawberries on the side served with fresh whipped cream, this dessert will make for a memorable ending, or perhaps beginning, to your Valentine’s Day.
What if you could make an easy-to-prepare treat that tastes like a pastry you just brought home in a pink box from the bakery? Sound too good to be true? Perfect for any occasion, these simple-to-make dessert bars fit the bill.
With three jars of Homemade Lemon Thyme Curd in the fridge, something cheesecakey was starting to sound pretty yummy. One of my favorite fruits to pair with lemon is raspberries. Not wanting to make a full-blown cheesecake, I recalled some delicious Cream Cheese Bars I made last Spring that were quite memorable. Taking off on something similar, I mixed together a pan of these sweet Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars.
These goodies are truly quite easy to put together. Anyone who savors the first bite will think you spent hours making them.
True confessions here. I have a love affair with all things lemon. One of my favorite additions to cheesecake is lemon curd. Inside, as well as on top, the puckery goodness can take a dessert from ordinary to extraordinary. When I discovered a method to infuse the curd with fresh thyme leaves, I immediately went to play.
This Homemade Lemon Thyme Curd will take you from Suzy Homemaker to Gourmet Pastry Chef in zero to sixty.
In an effort to expand my cake baking and decorating skills, I purchased an online class through Craftsy to inspire me with new methods and flavors for creating layers upon layers of indulgence fit for any occasion. I realized though, first things first. Until I get carried away with the construction and decorating part, I need to hone in on what makes a cake truly great.
Lately, I’ve been on a vintage bottle kick. As in very old bottles. A few weeks ago I visited an antique shop I frequently check out. The shopkeeper knows me and lets me in on any new merchandise that’s been brought in. As I meandered about, an interesting piece shimmered with light from the corner of my eye. It was an old medicinal bottle of sorts. As I read the raised glass labeling, it pretty much spoke for itself:
THE RELIABLE OLD-TIME PREPARATION FOR HOME USE
PREPARED BY DR PETER FAHRNEY & SONS CO, CHICAGO, ILL. U.S.A.
As in a laxative tonic. This was a very common concoction used in the day. I gently ran my fingertip around the top and bottom edges to look for signs of damage. With not a chip to be found and the original cap intact, I whisked it up to the counter so no one else could lay claim. It was a single purchase for the day that made me click my heels. On the drive home, the perfect use for it popped in my head.
Super rich, chocolatey, butterscotchy, peanut buttery, sugary, gooey stacks of scrumptiousness. I’m probably being the queen of bad here. These Sinful Scotcharoo Jumbles are not for the faint of heart. For some reason the holidays seem to be a time to take in all sweet treats of decadence. It’s a good time it only rolls around once of year.
So much for watching the waistline. But who can resist?
Amidst all of the gift boxes of chocolates and tins of fancy popcorn that are gifted lovingly as gestures of kindness, I still like to have homemade goodies around the house. They’re wonderful to gift in return. They’re an extra special, made-from-scratch confection that unsuspecting recipients delight in.
Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be complete without dessert. Many of you will be serving traditional pumpkin pies. I’ll be serving a special pie, with pumpkin in every bite.
With thousands of recipe options out there, I settled on referring back to my tried-and-true Better Homes & Garden cookbook from 1998. For some reason it beats out Betty on many dishes. And I love the pie recipes.
As in this Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pie. It’s a “Best Loved” rated recipe from home cooks.
It’s the marriage of all perfect worlds. The spicy pumpkin pie part sits on top of a creamy cheesecake base, all nestled in a rich, flaky buttery pie crust. A crumble mixture of pecans, brown sugar and butter top it off. The combined texture and flavors of the layers are simply delicious. What more can I say?
What if I told you that the best chocolate cake doesn’t always need to have flour in it? These cupcakes are flourless. No trick here. They’re chocolatey and moist, just as you would expect from a decadent piece of chocolate cake. With just one magical ingredient that binds them together.
Taking off on the Guilt-Free Brownies I baked up a few weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to offer a flourless chocolate cupcake for your Halloween party that serves up flavor, and spares the glutin sensitivity.
Your ghouls and goblins of any age will devour these. If mine will, yours certainly will, too!
Moist, spicy Butternut Squash snack cake. I’ve discovered that snackin’ on squash can be quite delicious. It’s the type of tasty delight that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime, and would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s lunchbox. Or with a cup of Joe.
Amidst the leftover vines from the garden were three odd-shaped, but otherwise perfectly fine butternut squash. The pulp is similar to that of an acorn squash or pumpkin. Since they weren’t quite large enough for making soup or a pie, a snack-size cake was deemed fitting.
There’s a bit of a mind game that seems to happen when a vegetable is used in place of a confection (like chocolate) in baking. “Hmm, it sounds too healthy. It probably won’t be very good.” Familiar head chat? Oh, the pessimistic mind games we play.
Autumn screams apples. How about pie? Like fresh picked apples mixed in sugar and cinnamon, piled in a buttery-flake crust, laced with caramel goodness and topped with more butter, brown sugar, oats, and nuts.
I know, you’re probably screaming back at me saying “No! No!” And then the alter ego kicks in. “Well, okay. Just a slice.”
I’m sorry, but someone had to break the ice. It’s just that time of year. The bounty is showing up on the trees and at the produce stands. The beautiful apple. There are so many ways to enjoy them!
Flavorful, flourless, moist, chocolatey, almondy decadence. With no guilt! Well, a wee bit, but not much.
It’s amazing what happens after spending a weekend eating healthy foods, including desserts. Inspiration struck after enjoying a delicious brownie prepared by one of our beautiful hosts, Emily, at the Wellness and Writing Retreat. She served up a thick, yummy brownie that had no flour. The main ingredient was garbanzo beans. Please don’t turn your nose up yet.
Imagine a buttery almond shortbread crust, filled with a sweet cream cheese mixture, topped with fresh sliced peaches then drenched in a thyme-infused orange glaze. I couldn’t help myself. The devil made me do it.
The peaches on the counter were getting ripe. What better way to use them than as the crowning glory to a cream cheese tart?
This was probably the last hurrah for a summertime fruit dessert. The days are getting shorter, the air crisp and cooler. The leaves are beginning to turn glorious shades of copper and gold, signaling a transition to the Fall season.
If you’re looking for a grand finale to a dinner party, this peachy yummy treat is sure to impress. Or if you’re like me, you’ll keep it all to yourself. Well, I’m always willing to share. We just won’t tell anyone it’s here. Unless they stop in.
It was with hesitation to even cut in to. It was so pretty. Thinking of the sweet layers melting in my mouth at first bite made me grab that knife. Pure decadence graced the plate, of which I quickly speared with a fork. Smooth, shortbready, almondy, peachy, orangy, thymey goodness.
Most of us have, or have had, a Bundt pan in our culinary repertoire at some point in time. Unless you have an affliction to baking. In any event, as fate would have it, I stumbled upon one of the originals. I mean an original Bundt pan. As in, made in the early 1950’s by Nordic Ware.
Made of heavy cast aluminum, this plum has stoically weathered the years. One can only imagine how many times it’s been in and out of ovens from who knows where, not to mention what’s been baked in it.
Manufactured in Minneapolis, this is one of the first to be produced. Notice the raised stamps and lettering? After all of these years, it remains in excellent condition. There isn’t a dent in it, maintaining it’s original fluted design.
It was tucked down in the corner of an old display crate sitting on the floor at a vendor booth in Stevensville, Montana. A day jaunt with a friend landed us at a charming antique mall that once served as a creamery.
What’s a girl to do with a soon-to-expire carton of buttermilk and an abundance of fresh laid eggs in the fridge? Make pie!
Another pie, you ask? This is no ordinary pie. It’s one of those creamy, custardy, lemony, sweet dream pieces of decadence. Granted, the fresh fruit pies that have been coming out of The Log Home Kitchen over these Summer months have been incredibly, edibly delicious. It was time for a change, and this one conveniently fit the bill.
Custard pies are one of my personal favorites, and make for the perfect seasonal transition in to cooler months ahead. Buttermilk pie isn’t as heavy as some, such as Pumpkin, that will be baking in the oven before you know it. Time flies fast. Way too fast. I remember my father would tell me that life passes by in the blink of an eye. That was before he left this earthly plane, something I’ll never forget. Or take for granted. Time. I digress.
In order to achieve the perfect buttermilk pie, or any type of custard pie for that matter, is that you need to make sure you don’t undercook it or overcook it. You have to watch it. Keep that oven light on (if you have one) and check it every couple of minutes after the initial minimum bake time called for in the recipe.
It should look like this.
Can you see how the surface was just beginning to turn lightly golden in color? Give the baking rack inside the oven a gentle rattle with your hand, covered by an oven mitt of course, and see if the center of the pie jiggles. It should have a firm jiggle, not a sloshy one. If that makes any sense.
In addition to the buttermilk and eggs I had to use up, there was also one pre-rolled pie crust from the doughboy himself in the fridge, so I used that. It made this one super easy to prepare.
And talk about easy! All you do is whisk the ingredients in one bowl, pour it in the crust to bake, then let it cool before you enjoy. I like to add a dollop of whipped cream on top, either from the plastic tub, the can, or the carton, or whatever is on hand. It’s nice to add a fruit garnish, too, if you have some.
Then all you have to do is slice it up, sit back, and enjoy the smooth sweetness in your mouth. Mmmm.
I’m always looking for a good custard filling recipe. In my quest, I found this particular one at my go-to recipe website Allrecipes. The name of the recipe is simply Buttermilk Pie. It’s one of the best I’ve found so far.
You can find it at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttermilk-pie/detail.aspx. I encourage you to give it a try if you’re so inclined. And if you do, be sure to tell me what you think! Also write a review on the page where the recipe is written if you get a chance. It’s a great way to become a part of the wonderful Allrecipes.com community!
Um, I think I might have to have another piece. Followed by a good cardio walk.
Happy Wednesday all!
I can’t for the life of me tell you who comes up with these “National Pie Day” dates. Maybe the American Pie Council? Yes, there’s a national association for that, too. It’s all about pie. Actually, National Pie Day is celebrated on January 23rd of each year. But on the 24th of this month, it’s the glorious Peach Pie that is showcased.
Hubs proudly came home from visiting a travelling farm stand the other day with a sack of fresh peaches in hopes I would bake him a peach pie. There were four to be exact. “Good grief, only 4? I thought to myself.” I cheerfully smiled and told him I would love to bake him a peach pie. Thankfully, they were large ones, though still not enough for a pie. Luckily I had a pint of blueberries in the fridge. Four peaches plus 2 pints of berries equals six cups of fresh fruit. Happy Dance!
So in honor of National Peach Pie Day coming up, I went to work on putting together a pie, even though it wasn’t all peaches. Does that count? I think so.
Not only did this pie have sweet peaches in it, there were huge blueberries bursting with each bite. And creamy old-fashioned vanilla ice cream on top.
The weather has showered us with daily rains and cooler temperatures, so I decided to make a crust from scratch. After all, that’s the best kind, and pretty easy in my opionion. I prefer using a food processor. If you decide to go this route, be sure to pulse the dry ingredients a few times first, then add your butter. Only pulse it until large lumps form, then add your liquids through the shoot while the processor is running. Whatever you do, don’t over mix it. You’ll get a tough dough that can’t be salvaged.
There’s nothing better than to have a rich, buttery crust to cut in to and relish with the sweetness of fresh fruits. In this particular pie, I laced the fruit with almond extract which made for a nice finish on the palette. Such goodness in each and every bite. Oh, how I’m going to miss Summer and the bounty of fresh fruit it brings us.
So what are you waiting for? Head on down to the produce stand and pick up some ripe peaches and make a pie served a la mode to treat your family and friends over the weekend. Or just for yourself! Self-indulgence never hurt anyone. Just don’t eat it all at once!
And don’t forget the ice cream!
Here’s my recipe that I have tweeked over time. Feel free to use your own crust recipe if you have one that is tried and true.
- For the crust:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold water, more if needed
- For the filling:
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 4 cups fresh peaches, approximately 4 large, sliced
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar
- In a large bowl or bowl of food processor, combine flour and salt.
- Cut or pulse in the butter until lumps form.
- Add cold water, by tablespoon, to the mixture until a dough forms.
- Use more water if necessary.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface until it forms an elasticity.
- Cut dough in half. Form two disks. Wrap in saran and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine fresh fruits in large bowl. Sprinkle with almond extract.
- Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.
- Add to fruit and mix gently until fruit is well coated.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out one disk on floured surface.
- Place crust in bottom of a 9" pie plate.
- Fill with fruit, keeping it higher in the center and shallow toward edges.
- Roll out the second disk on floured surface and place over fruit filling.
- Crimp edges so no juices can escape. Cut slits in the top.
- Whisk egg in small bowl and using a pastry brush, evenly coat top of crust.
- Sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Add more if desired.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
- Cover edges with a pie crust guard or aluminum foil strips to avoid burning.
- Remove pie from oven when crust is golden and filling begins to bubble.
- Allow to cool for one hour or more before serving.
- Refrigerate unused portions.
As the saying goes, when it rains it pours. In this case, I’m talking about all of the activity that sent me into a tailspin over the last several days. Between the handyman crew finishing up projects around the house, and the gigantesque (as in majorly huge/giant/enormous) yard sale I had which I’ve been putting off for the past several years, I’m exhausted.
Yard sales are in and of themselves a major undertaking, especially when the garage is piled high with boxes from a move 15 years ago (I finally came to terms with the fact I really didn’t need all of that stuff) and a recent kitchen remodel. Needless to say, euphoria has overswept me for having released those items that no longer serve my needs. They have now been passed on to those that are ecstatic to have them. Like the young girls going off to college to live on their own for the first time in their lives. And to the new mommy that needed more cereal bowls. And the bright pink horse halter an elderly gentleman purchased for his granddaughter who rides her horse in barrel races. The stories are endless and many heartwarming.
I have been out of the kitchen for way too long. So what better way to relish in a much needed time out from all of the craziness than with a one bowl wonder.
Indulgent, chocolately-rich thick brownies. These are what brownie dreams are made of. I must disclose that these are not for the calorie-counting faint-of-heart. If I were to calculate the number of fat grams, carbs, sugars, and calories in these decadent bars, it might just send me in to a diabetic coma.
Once in awhile, as in a blue moon, we just have to treat ourselves.
What can I say but O-M-G! Oh my goodness, and then some!
If ever there was a perfect brownie on the planet, it’s this one. I’ve baked many brownie recipes over the years, many of which were sorely disappointing. Too gooey, too thin, too crusty, too hard, too cakey, too… You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes the ones in the box mix come out pretty darn good in comparison.
But in my unbiased opinion based on experience, this is the definitive recipe for homemade brownies. They’re a one bowl wonder that taste as if you just pulled them out of a pink bakery box. They’re that good.
So here’s the secret which really isn’t a secret. They’re made from a Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate bar. It’s the recipe that’s been on the wrapper for years. The only thing I do different than the instructions is bake them in an 8″ x 8″ square pan so they come out thick. And I add an extra splash of vanilla extract.
If you decide to make them, make sure there’s plenty of ice cold milk in the fridge to wash them down. They will make for big smiles and sweet satisfaction.
- 1 pkg (4 oz) BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 up to 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 8 x 8 pan with foil (non-stick works great), with ends extending over sides.
- Grease bottom, if needed.
- Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 2 min.
- Remove and stir until chocolate is completely melted.
- Stir in sugar.
- Blend in eggs and vanilla.
- Add flour and pecans, gently mixing until well combined.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until set (Edges will start to pull from sides of pan).
- DO NOT OVERBAKE.
- Cool completely. Lift out of pan and cut into pieces to serve.
When you’re standing in the produce section of the grocery store staring at the freshly picked berries and you simply just can’t decide on which ones to buy, get one of each! That’s what happened to me yesterday at the local market. Stacks of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries bedazzled my eyes. It was a tough decision. So each variety made it in to the shopping cart.
And made it in to this lovely pie. It’s what Summer is all about. Not frozen, not placed in cold storage for months, just plain fresh!
This is what dreams are made of. Living in a small town has it’s challenges, especially when one has a hankering for a fresh berry pie. The premade ones have a bunch of fillers and just don’t taste the same as the savory sweet goodness of a pie piled high with berries fresh out of the oven.
You can call it berry-licious. Mmm, very berry-licious.
Look at those plump berries. Each one tender and sweet. Needless to say, this certainly satisfied my craving.
You can probably tell this serving was A La Mode as evidenced by the trailings of melted vanilla ice cream on the plate.
Here’s the simple recipe, the way I like to put together a fruit pie. It’s for purists. No added frills. And you will savor each and every bite.
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- ½ pint fresh blackberries
- ½ pint fresh blueberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup quick cooking tapioca
- Juice from one fresh squeezed lemon, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice concentrate
- 1 prepared double pie crust
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a 9" pie plate with one of the crusts and set aside.
- Rinse berries in a collander and drain thoroughly.
- Remove stems and hulls from strawberries and cut in to quarters lengthwise.
- For larger strawberries, slice in to smaller pieces.
- Place all berries in to a large mixing bowl.
- Pour sugar over the top of the berries.
- Add the tapioca and lemon juice.
- Gently fold to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- Carefully spoon berry mixture in to prepared pie crust.
- Cover the top of the berries with the remaining pie crust.
- Crimp together edges. Cut a small hole in the center.
- Cut slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Brush the top crust with the beaten egg, avoiding the crimped edge.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until crust is golden.
- Remove pie from oven and sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over top.
- Allow to cool on wire rack and serve.
I hope you get a chance to make this for you and yours. Have a wonderful weekend!
“S” is for Strawberries, Shortcake, and Summer. This combination is a match made in heaven! Who can deny the mouthwatering goodness of ripe strawberries at the peak of the season?
It’s best you grab some of these ruby treasures to enjoy because they won’t be around forever. At least those that are domesticly-grown anyway. The season is ripe and I can’t think of a better berry to enjoy. Especially when sandwiched between golden layers of shortcake.
Now this is what I’m talking about.
I was in the mood for a “real” shortcake base. Not like the spongy ones wrapped in cellophane that are stacked up next to the fresh strawberries in the produce section of the market. I’m talking about the kind Grandma used to make years ago before the Twinkie stuff. Not that I don’t love Twinkies, just not for my strawberry shortcake. Also, I wanted a little something more than a drop-type biscuit. And I certainly wasn’t up to the task of rolling out a homemade dough to cut shapes from. Too hot.
What I had in mind was a kind of cake-like batter that I could plop in a pan and bake for a short period of time. I turned to my trusty resource of Allrecipes.com to see if I could find what I was looking for.
Eureka! I found this recipe for Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake.
After looking at the list of ingredients and reading the reviews, I decided to give it a whirl. There was no doubt it met my criteria for ease of preparation. I pretty much disregarded the preparation instructions for the strawberries as the ones I had were very ripe and already sweet. So I added a scant quarter cup of sugar which was plenty in this instance. Now if you have tart ones, of course you would want to add more. Let your tastebuds be the judge.
It turned out just the way I envisioned. A nice rise, golden top, and a slight coarseness to the texture which I personally like to soak up the fruit juices without it disintegrating. The only change I made was to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for more flavoring.
Though the cake still lacked sweetness, and was even borderline on the bland side, this recipe works great as a base. I’ll definitely be making this again. Amping up the sugar in the batter should give it the punch it needs. Butter, instead of shortening, might help too.
All in all it’s a recipe worth trying for the reasons I’ve stated. It might even work with berries baked in to the batter, like one you would make for muffins. I think it would turn out more like a coffee cake. Hmmm, I’m seeing possibilities here.
With the abundance of fresh-picked berries, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate them in to baked goods. A mixed berry pie might be in the near future.
Thanks for stopping in, and stay tuned!
It’s on rare occasion to beat the birds to the cherries that have ripened on the branches. One has to keep a watchful eye on the ruby jewels that dangle on delicate stems, waiting to be picked at just the right time. I don’t have very good luck in this department.
But a friend of ours does.
Bless his heart. He was able to pluck a small bounty from his trees this year. At least enough for two pies. One for his family, one for us.
The only luck I had was that I finally found the cherry pitter I purchased years ago buried in a drawer of kitchen gadgets. This is one gadget I’ve never been able to use. The birds have outwitted me year after year.
With a bucket of ripened fruit, I set upon the tedius task of pitting the cherries. One by one. That’s the way the pitter works. Ugh. The chatter in my head was arguing whether or not it was worth it after all to even bother with these juicy little morsels.
You be the judge.
After I got the rhythm down, a Zen-like trance came over me that washed away the conflict racing through my mind. It was actually therapeutic. There wasn’t a thought that entered for a good four cups worth of pitting. Now that’s what they call being in the present moment!
Here’s the true confession in all of this. I’ve never baked a fresh cherry pie. I’ve only used the canned pie filling variety, thanks to those little vultures. So as I was rinsing my hands admiring the bowl of cherries I just pitted, I had to think fast as to how I was going to deal with them from this point on. It can’t be any different than any other fresh fruit pie, right?
The kitchen was getting hot. No air conditioning. Nada. Just a tower fan oscillating on a stand from the corner. Log homes usually don’t need air conditioning because they are so well insulated. They retain heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer. Usually. There is the exception of a few weeks here and there that it can become quite uncomfortable. At which point I go sit in my car with the AC running. Seriously.
So to expedite the process, I pulled out two refrigerated pie crusts for convenience. If you know how to work them, most people will think you made them from scratch anyway.
Pillsbury would be proud.
As for that filling, I gently tossed the cherries with one cup of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of tapioca to thicken the juices. For added flavor I just had to splash a quarter teaspoon of almond extract in the mix. Then I carefully spooned them in to the bottom crust, covered them with the top crust, and vented. That means putting holes or slits in the top to prevent the hot filling from bubbling out while baking. After 45 minutes at 400 degrees I had a beautiful, golden cherry-delicious pie. It was perfect.
A word of caution, if you don’t bake pies all the time, remember to guard the edge from burning by using a protective ring guard or narrow strips of foil.
To make your pie look professional like it came out of the bakery, brush the top with a beaten egg, then sprinkle sugar over the top when it comes out of the oven. Voila!
If I can do it, you can too! Take advantage of fresh fruit this time of year and bake a special pie. It will ooze with sugary sweet goodness and the recipients will be glad you made the effort.
What is it about the Fourth of July that screams ribs, country fried chicken, old fashioned potato salad, watermelon, and ahhh, dessert? With a cherry on top! An alcoholic- induced cherry. Though this is certainly not a requirement.
I think it’s important to make holidays as festive as possible. There’s no way getting around the fact that it IS a national holiday and fireworks will be bursting into the sky with piercing booms all across our wonderful country. Families and friends will be gathering for a smorgasbord of barbeques.
In keeping with the theme, I decided to experiment with layers of flavored Jell-O that would be fitting and cheerful to the eye. I’m typically not one to fiddle with desserts of this nature. However, the idea sounded so refreshing for a hot summer day.
Somewhere in the process it became apparent to me that I had made an accidental error that turned out to be an incredible artistic creation. Doesn’t it look like I intended it to appear as if the colors are floating on top of each other, as if bubbly layers are suspended alternately to make one ask “How did she do that? Do I drink it or eat it?”
It really does look like you could put a straw in and sip it. The true confession is that due to my lack of patience, and wanting to get on with other things, I didn’t wait long enough for 1) each layer to gel in the fridge before adding the next, and 2) to let the next layer cool down before spooning it on top of the one that was supposed to be congealed.
The bottom line is I’ll pretend this was an intentional endeavor on my part. Besides, no one will care because they’ll be fingers and toes into it until it’s polished off. Um, like hubs did with the first one when it came off of the assembly line.
There’s really no special recipe here. Go to the market and pick out some packages of Jell-O that are colorful and flavorful. Decide on a serving dish for presentation. You can use cute little mason jars or glasses of any type you might have for individual servings, or do one large bowl or glass pan. The key is to show off the red, white and blue!
Start with your first color by mixing it, then pouring it in to your containers. Then put them in the fridge. While the first layer is setting up, start mixing your next color. Then let it sit until it’s cooled down enough to where it won’t disturb the first layer that has been firming up when you pour over it. Then put it back in the fridge, prepare your next color, and so forth until you have reached the desired number of layers and colors.
The nice thing about this dessert is it can be made ahead of time. When you’re ready to serve, just put some whipped cream on top. And don’t forget the cherry!
With the abundance of blueberries bursting on to the scene at the markets, my head started to get dizzy thinking of all the delicious ways I could put them to good use. Some healthy, some not so healthy. Darn all of that butter and sugary yumminess.
There’s something about when you bite down on a fresh blueberry in your mouth that oozes fruity goodness, not to mention a super dose of anti-oxidants. I enjoy these berries on top of cereal, stirred up or layered in a yogurt parfait, and in smoothies. Then of course there’s always a cheesecake that needs topping, fruit pizza (one of my faves), coffee cake and cobbler. Did I miss anything?
With the Fourth of July coming up, I offer you all here a suggestion for a great take-along dessert wherever your gatherings may lead.
Pound cakes are a perfect summer picnic-kind-of dessert, because they travel so well and typically don’t need refrigeration. Of course, that only works if it makes it out the front door, into the car, and that it arrives at it’s proper destination.
There are some days you win, some days you lose. This one sat on the counter less than twenty four hours before someone had to dive in to it.
The good thing is they really are a snap to mix together. Baking time can be a little bit long and tedious though, because you have to keep an eye out so they don’t get overbaked. If you pull them out too soon, they’ll implode in your pan. Let them stay in the oven too long and you’ll get a crumbly brick. Look for it to start turning golden around the edges, and slightly on top. There’s a delicate balance in these dense cakes.
I think this would also be perfect for an afternoon tea or get-together with the girls. What do you think? There’s nothing like a special treat to savor while sipping a cup of fresh ground coffee. You can pretend you’re at one of those fancy coffee houses. That’s what I do. Well, only out of dire necessity. Unless I want to drive 160 miles.
Here’s the recipe that I have used for years. I hope you get a chance to try it!
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 2 cups blueberries, washed, drained, and patted dry
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons reserved
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- powdered sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Do not use baking spray.
- In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well before each addition.
- Add lemon extract and beat until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.
- Add dry ingredients slowly into the batter.
- Toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons flour.
- Gently fold blueberries into the batter.
- Evenly distribute batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake 1 hour 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool on rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.
- Sprinkle top with powdered sugar, if desired.
There’s something about this time of year that makes my mouth water for fresh fruits. Especially when I can eat them in a light, sweet dessert. Though it’s still a bit early in the season for some of my favorites, I had a combination of fruits to pull together a nice little treat to satisfy the soul.
Hence, this lovely pan fruit tart.
What’s nice about this is that it’s not a real heavy dessert. It starts with a lightly baked shortbread crust. Since I’m not one to spend a lot of time trying to cut butter in to the flour, I just put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until I have a nicely crumbled mixture.
Since this is like a dough, you don’t want to over process it. Then just dump it in to a baking pan (in this case it was a 9 X 13 inch) and press it out evenly with your hands. It’s also very important not to overbake this layer. It should be soft like shortbread, not hard like a cookie (unless that’s your preference). I watch until it just begins to turn golden on the outer edge, usually no more than ten minutes max.
After it cools, it’s spread evenly with a sugar and cream cheese mixture, then topped off with fruit of your choice. The glaze that gels the fruit on the top is a simple mix of sugar, cornstarch, and orange juice. On this particular one, I used a tropicla fruit blend juice that was delicious and balanced out the citrus flavor with the papaya and mango.
I would normally use strawberries, raspberries, peaches, grapes…you get the idea. Get creative and come up with a colorful presentation. Some canned fruits work quite well, such as mandarin oranges. You can even make a tart with a theme, like a flag for the Fourth of July, using strawberries and blueberries for the stripes, and star fruit for the stars. The possibilities are endless. Just have fun with it!
As summertime barbeques and get-togethers move in to full swing, keep this one in mind. It’s a real crowd pleaser that will be enjoyed by everyone.
Here’s the recipe that I have used for years.
- For the Crust:
- ½ cup softened butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- For Fruit Topping:
- Use fruit of your choice.
- I like to use canned mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi & banana.
- For the Glaze:
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup orange or tropical-blend fruit juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together butter, egg, and sugar.
- Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix in until large crumbles form.
- Press dough in to a 9 X 13 inch baking pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden. Remove from oven.
- Set pan aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
- Spread over cooled shortbread.
- Slice fruit thin and arrange on top of cream cheese layer.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and juice.
- Over medium heat, whisk occasionally and bring to a full rolling boil.
- Reduce heat and continue to boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
- Gently pour the cooled glaze over top of fruit.
- Immediately refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving.
This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a jelly roll pan.
Sounds interesting and delicious, doesn’t it? Though Cinco de Mayo has long passed, I couldn’t help but notice all of the different dessert ideas that were floating around on the web. One in particular that caught my eye is called a Choco Flan. It incorporates a power duo of chocolate cake and caramelized flan, all baked in to one. The concept piqued my interest.
In looking at several recipes posted on different websites, there was a common thread that was easy to pick up on. There is a cake batter mixed separate from the custard mix. Both are poured in to the same pan, and miraculously the flan custard ends up on the bottom and the cake on the top. So when you invert it, the flan is sitting on top of the cake.
Are you thoroughly confused?
Personally I had never baked a cake and custard together. So I decided it was high time I give it a whirl. However, the idea of chocolate cake sounded a little too heavy. In my mind, it only made sense that any number of other compatible flavor combinations could be used. I settled on a white cake with lemon flan and curd topping.
This is what I’m talking about.
Can you see the layer of flan sitting on the cake? The textures and flavors meld perfectly, making it a light (NOT as in calories) and refreshing finish to a heavy meal. Or at any meal or time of day, for that matter. Hubs and I enjoy a small piece of sweetness following lunch. That way we have half of the day left to burn the extra calories off.
Here’s the secret to how this whole thing comes together. First of all, lightly butter a bundt pan. I used a pastry brush, dipping it in to a small dish of melted butter. And for heaven’s sake, DO NOT take the easy way out and spray it with that you-know-what-stuff. It will spoil the flavor and consistency of the flan. Then pour the cake batter in, followed by the flan mixture. They will mix together, and you’ll wonder how on earth the two will separate.
After you’ve poured the batters into the pan, cover it with a piece of foil. I suggest lightly buttering the side that goes down also, keeping the cake from sticking to it as it rises. Then place the pan in a water bath. A large roasting pan with about one inch of hot water will work perfectly.
After it’s baked for a little over an hour, remove it carefully from the oven and slowly peel back the foil. The cake should have pulled slightly from the edges and pass the toothpick test.
When it’s cooled to room temperature, it’s time to say your Hail Mary. Get your serving plate and invert the pan so the cake is centered and slips out ever so gently.
And that, dear friends, is how it’s done. Now, I am not one to usually show step by step instructions on measuring, melting, and mixing. Due to the nature of this process I thought it would help to illustrate the steps in case you’ve never done one before.
Now that I have one under my belt, I’m thinking about an almond flan on orange cake.
What will you decide to come up with?
Before I forget, here’s the recipe.
- For the cake:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1¼ cups water
- ⅓ cup oil
- For the flan:
- 1 can evavorated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon extract
- ¼ cup prepared lemon curd, extra for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack on the middle shelf.
- Lightly butter a bundt pan. Set inside of a large roasting pan.
- Place ¼ cup lemon curd by spoonfuls evenly in to the bottom of prepared pan.
- Prepare cake mix according to package instructions.
- The ingredients listed were for a Betty Crocker cake mix.
- Pour cake batter evenly over the lemon curd in the bundt pan.
- In a blender, mix the flan ingredients until smooth.
- Carefully pour the flan mixture evenly over the cake batter.
- Cover the pan with lightly buttered foil.
- Carefully pour one inch of hot water in to the roasting pan and place in oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until done.
- Remove from oven and water bath. Set on rack to cool to room temperature.
- Invert onto serving plate and chill for at least one hour before serving.
It’s been awhile since I personally indulged in a cream cheese creation. All of the cheesecakes I’ve made over the last several months have been shared and given to others. I wanted to whip up something I could have all to myself (and to share with dear Hubs, of course). So I went to my trusty online recipe resource, allrecipes.com.
Looking for a simple treat, and something not so big as a cheesecake, I landed on a basic recipe that could be changed up any old way I wanted. After reading the short list of ingredients, I decided this was the perfect one to satisfy my hankering.
Usually I make my own dough, only because I have the luxury of time to do so. This particular recipe begins with two cans of crescent dough. How easy is that? You roll out one can and press it in the bottom of a baking dish. Whip together two bricks of cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Then spread it over the bottom layer of dough, and top the cream cheese mixture off with the other can. Coat the top layer with melted butter then give it a good dusting of granulated sugar and cinnamon and pop it in the oven. That’s it!
This is a terrific dessert to make for those of you that don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen. Your family and friends will love you for it. The best part is, it’s soooo good!
So here’s what I did to tailor it to my taste buds. Instead of using vanilla extract, I used almond extract. I omitted the cinnamon on top. After it had a chance to chill for an hour in the fridge, I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the top using a teaspoon. It made it rich, yummy, and decadent.
I’m adding this one to my go-to standards list for desserts. There are countless ways to make it different each time. You can add a layer of fruit filling, change the extract flavoring, add a special topping of fresh fruit soaked in honey or brandy (the latter sounds divine), or any number of combinations to make it your own. Have fun with it!
Now that your mouth is watering, here’s the link to the recipe for Cream Cheese Squares.
Thanks for stopping in. Happy Friday all!
Before I begin, I have a confession to make. I LOVE avocados. Maybe it’s because they were so abundant growing up in southern California. My husband and I had two trees of our own that literally rained avocados. So I guess it’s safe to say I’m quite experienced knowing how to handle and use them in recipes.
This month a group of Allrecipe Allstar Brand Ambassadors have been busy preparing dishes using Avocados From Mexico. We were broken up into smaller groups to recreate one of their sponsored recipes on the Allrecipes website. I was selected to prepare their Avocado Cheesecake with a Walnut Crust. Yes, you heard me right. An avocado cheesecake.
When I mentioned this in passing conversation, some people looked at me like “You’re kidding, right?” Others let out a definitive “Oh yum!”
I personally sat on the fence with this one until I perused the list of ingredients. With much anticipation, I gathered up the goods to prepare this interesting and unusual version of cheesecake.
The recipe begins with the preparation of a walnut and graham cracker crust. So far, so good. The cake part itself is less indulgent than one might expect. This is a no-bake wonder, utilizing unflavored gelatin to bind the avocado and cream cheese mixture. It only calls for one package of fat-free cream cheese, so don’t expect a tall cheesecake like you would with a New York-style one. Once everything is processed together, it’s poured into the crust and chilled for at least two hours.
Raspberry sauce was suggested as an option for topping if so desired. After looking at the pale green color of the cheesecake, I felt like something more colorful and flavorful was in order. After all, this is for Avocados FROM Mexico! Mexico and vibrant color go hand-in- hand in my book, so I added my own twist. Since I wasn’t expecting a huge burst of sweet goodness in this dessert, I put together a fruit salsa of sorts. Chopped strawberries, kiwi, and mango were tossed lightly with honey and coconut flakes to give this dish a boost.
It was with reserved enthusiasm that I offered dear Hubs the first piece. He asked me what it was, and I told him I would let him know after he told me if he liked it or not. Kind of a cat and mouse tactic, but I was afraid he would turn his nose up at it. He took the first bite, then another, and another. With a resounding “This is delicious!” I fessed up and told him that it was an avocado cheesecake. Then it was my turn, and to my delight, it exceeded all of my conservative expectations.
This is a very light dessert, perfect for serving to guests after a large meal. It’s ever so slightly sweet. Just enough to satisfy. It also rates high in the presentation department as well, especially if you use a little color and creativity.
For the full details, you can get the recipe for Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust here. While you’re there on the Allrecipes website, be sure to check out the other interesting recipes that can be made using Avocados From Mexico. They have an Avocado Aioli that sounds pretty good. I might just have to give that a try.
Oh, and one more confession. I used full fat cream cheese in the Avocado Cheesecake I prepared. To me, dessert is dessert. And therefore, I splurge. But by all means feel free to stick with the recipe. The results will still be delicious.
Just a friendly reminder, the opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of The Log Home Kitchen, and I am not compensated for my work on behalf of the name brand products mentioned.
Thanks for stopping in!
The lonely can of Solo brand Almond Cake & Pastry Filling sat conspicuously on a shelf in the cupboard. A leftover ingredient from the holidays that I never got around to using. For the life of me I couldn’t remember what my plans for it were. As I stared at it for a few seconds, I pulled it down. I’d never used this stuff before. As I inspected the label, it read “2 recipes inside.” For the life of me I can’t remember when the last time was I tore a label off a can to see what kind of exciting recipe might be awaiting. Kind of like when you were a kid and couldn’t wait to see what the prize was inside the Cracker Jack box. After several years of disappointment, I gave up.
I felt a little nudge from my spirit saying “Go for it. Take a peek inside that label.” So I did.
Hmmm…It looked pretty simple. Basic ingredients that I had on hand. For some reason my tastebuds were thinking that something with almond flavoring would be a good thing. Besides, I had picked up a new decorative single-layer cake pan at a thrift shop not long ago that had never been used. It was the perfect recipe to give it a try.
Yes, it was perfect indeed. With a few finishing touches, here was the end result.
It was almost too pretty to eat.
It’s a sea of chocolate out there. And hearts. It’s that time of year we’re bombarded at every entrance to supermarkets and variety stores with heart-shaped boxes and cards, flowers, and teddy bears. I see the look of despair on men’s faces as they wade through the Valentines, hoping to pick just the right one for their sweetie.
Remember in grade school when we would decorate shoe boxes with construction paper and crayons, cut a slit in the top, then anxiously await for it to fill up with Valentines from secret admirers? I digress.
There’s an old saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I used to think that was kind of corny, until I was married for some time and realized it was partially true. Hubs really loves it when I prepare a special meal or treat for him.
I like to make something special for him on Valentine’s. A nice dinner for two, a good bottle of wine, candles lit on the table (you notice I said “lit” because usually they’re just props for decoration purposes), and the main attraction, dessert.
And it is decadent.
This year I’ve been experimenting. The other day, I mentioned I had a Chocolate Malt Cheesecake in the oven. Well let me tell you, it was the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. Hubs said it was worthy of being on the dessert menu at Sardi’s in New York City. Bless his heart. I have to admit, it came out perfect. Here’s what it looked like.
There’s not a bite left. It was enjoyed by all whom I shared it with.
Usually when I’m knee deep into a baking project, everyone in the household knows that the kitchen is off-limits, especially the four-legged ones. Since the temperatures have been so cold, we’ve had a full house. Of cats and dogs, that is. So this morning, after feeding and play time was over, they all took their respective lounging areas and conked out. Good for me. I knew I had at least a few hours of peace and quiet.
Today I wanted to make a cheesecake. With Cupid’s Day in mind, I started thinking about something chocolatey. “What could I do that’s different?”. I turned on some music to get my creative juices going. Staring at an open cupboard door my eyes landed on a canister of malted milk powder. It was last summer I had been craving a chocolate malt, but never got around to making it. As a Kenny G note seared sky high, an idea popped in my head. Hence, a Chocolate Malt Cheesecake was born.
There’s a Zen kind of thing that takes over me when I’m focused and in that blissful state doing what I love to do. Just me, in my kitchen, playing my music, doing my thing.
After finally putting the cheesecake in to the oven, I went to turn around, and this is what I saw.
That would be Stella.
Then I looked below the sink, and this is what I saw.
That would be Angel.
I sensed there was yet another set of eyes on me. Yep. There was.
That would be Skittles.
There was certainly something about that cheesecake that drew them in. Or possibly, they just wanted to hang out with their mom.
To me, this is what makes a house a home. I realize there are a lot of people whom believe animals should not be allowed inside. Especially, in the kitchen sink! If you ever were to walk in my house, the only thing that would give you a clue that there were dogs and cats around would be the chew toys and the toy mice stuffed with catnip scattered across the floor. And quite possibly a loopy feline staggering about.
I can start to smell the aroma of chocolate and malt coming from the oven. It’s divine. I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to take a taste test. If it proves to be as good as it smells, you’ll be the first to get a copy of the recipe. For now, we just have to wait until it’s done and has a chance to chill overnight.
Now, if I could just teach those furry critters to wash and dry the dishes!
Since Valentine’s Day is this month, I thought it was fitting to start making some dessert suggestions to win over your sweetheart. When you bite in to these little gems, the hint of coconut oil in the shortbread crust combines subtly with the velvety smooth truffle-like dark chocolate filling. Since chocolate is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac, you might want to eat more than just one!
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 1½ cups dark chocolate chips - at least 60% Cacao
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR
- 1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 8" x 8" baking pan with foil, extending edges approx. 1 inch on each side.
- Lightly grease with shortening. Set aside.
- Melt coconut oil in microwave, checking at 15 second intervals until melted.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
- Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, egg, and sugar to the flour mix.
- Stir just until thoroughly blended. A soft dough will form.
- Press into prepared pan and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges just begin to turn golden. Do not over bake.
- Remove from oven and cool completely on rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Meanwhile, put chocolate chips, milk, and coconut oil in a large saucepan.
- Melt over low heat, stirring constantly until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and extract OR bourbon.
- Stir into chocolate mixture until completely incorporated.
- Poor mixture on top of cooled shortbread. Level with spatula if needed.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until sides are slightly puffed and center does not jiggle.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- In a small microwaveable bowl, melt together the white chocolate and coconut oil.
- Check every 15 seconds until completely melted. Remove from oven and stir.
- Drizzle over top of cooled brownies.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Lift out of pan using the foil as handles. Place on a level surface.
- Cut bars with a sharp knife, wiping blade as needed to keep edges smooth.