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Let’s Make WHOOPIE!

16 Aug

Whoopie pies, that is! Haha….couldn’t resist the title! 

The stars started to align a few months ago for me to make these when I experimented with an oatmeal cookie recipe. I started from scratch and took a few guesses with the measurements. Well, after a few months of experimenting, I finally got my delicious, soft and chewy oatmeal cookies down! Man are oatmeal cookies good! They are some of our favorites!

They really are delicious on their own, but I wanted to shake things up. So I went a little crazy and filled these babies with cream cheese filling….thus creating the super awesome over the top whoopie pie.

These cookies have got it all! Soft, sweet, chewy and a slight tang from the filling! I love them cold and they taste even better than the store bought oatmeal cream pies (sorry little debbie!) I might even go as far as to say that they are healthier! And by healthy I mean no crazy unpronounceable preservatives. Ok, healthy is NOT a good word to describe these, but man are they tasty!

Just like making regular cookies, you make your dough and bake them pan by pan. You let them cool a little and then remove them from off the baking sheet. Then you cool them completely and fill them chock full of fluffy cream cheese filling. It’s really an easy recipe but takes a little waiting time. So, if you have the patience, then dive right in. If you don’t, you can make the cookies today, store them in an airtight container and finish them tomorrow. OR (can you see where this is going?) you can make the cookie dough today, bake them tomorrow and fill them the next day. But, I’ll tell you right now the cookies won’t make it to day 3 because they really are that good and you WILL eat them all. Happy Baking, friends!

Oatmeal Cream Whoopie Pies
yield: 48 cookies, 24 pies

for the cookies-
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg (optional)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
(1 cup chocolate chips if you like!)

for the filling-
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cream
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
dash salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray light colored baking sheet (*see recipe tips) with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In large bowl, cream margarine, shortening and sugars together until light and creamy. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl and whip 1-2 minutes until light in color. Stir in remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Scoop small balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes until cookies aren’t shiny anymore and they look slightly underdone. Cool 3-4 minutes on baking sheet and then remove to waxed paper (*see recipe tips) to cool completely.

For the filling, whip cream cheese with vanilla, cream and salt until smooth. Slowly whip powdered sugar into cream cheese until all combined and smooth. Scrap down the sides and whip again.

To assemble, take 1 oatmeal cookie and spread 1-2 tablespoons of filling across the bottom evenly. Top with another cookie. Repeat until all cookies are filled.

Recipe TIPS
-I use a lighter colored baking sheet because the bottoms don’t brown as quickly or become as hard as they would using a non stick sheet.
-I like to put my cookies on waxed paper because it somehow keeps the cookies really soft.
-If you are planning on assembling the cookies at a later date after they have been cooked, place them gently into an airtight container while the cookies are luke warm–this will keep them moist until you’re ready to use them!

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Mini Peach Galettes

9 Aug

Well, hello friends! Hope you had a great weekend! We tried to stay cool and definitely ate some killer food at our weekly family get together. (I made minty squares for everyone- dessert that everyone loves!)

Because it is summer and we reside in Oregon, there is delicious fruit galore! Today on the menu: peaches- and lots of ’em! Gordon and I had a slight moment of insanity and picked 20 pounds of peaches the other day! Let me tell you we are all sick of peaches! But out of everything I made, these mini peach galettes and my peach cobbler were our favorites. (Typical, since they are both desserts!)

Now, don’t let the fancy name throw you off. A galette is a french word that simply means freeform and flat crusty cakes. It is similar to a pie but is baked on a cookie sheet instead of a pie plate. It is an easy dessert that sounds and looks impressive, but takes no time and hardly any effort to put together. The more rustic the better! We gobbled these up fast! And, I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream on hand, so fresh whipped cream had to do. But, do me a favor and serve these warm with ice cream! You’ll be glad you did!

Mini Peach Galettes
yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
pastry for 1 pie, chilled
2 large ripe peaches
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour (you may need more depending how juicy your fruit is)
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 4 chunks
vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream

Directions:
For the filling-
If desired, blanch peaches to remove skins (see recipe tips for how to do this). If you don’t mind the skin, then skip this step. Cut peaches into 1/4 inch dice and pour into bowl. Stir gently with sugar, flour, salt. cinnamon and orange juice. Set aside.
For assembly-
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut dough into four equal pieces. Flour board and rolling pin. Roll one piece of dough into a 5-6 inch circle (roughly). Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Spoon peach filling into center of dough rounds, dividing equally and leaving a 1 inch border. Fold sides of dough up over filling. Brush edges of dough with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Place one piece of butter in the center on top of the peach filling. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and continue baking for 20-25 minutes until pastry is brown and peaches are soft. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan and serve with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Recipe TIPS:
How to blanch peaches: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cut a small ‘x’ in the bottom of each peach. Gently drop peaches into hot water for 30 seconds, remove and submerge into ice cold water immediately. Skins should peel right off. Easy!

Blueberries galore! Two for one!

30 Jul

First things first: I updated my pages with different photos and newer information and even added an extra one, so go check it out! Also, my formatting is all screwed up for this post and I don’t know how to fix it! Anyone know how to fix it?

A few days ago, my mother-in-law purchased a rather large pack of fresh blueberries and didn’t know what to do with them. She asked me if I’d like some and I happily took them off her hands! What did I make with them? Of course a bazillion batches of my favorite blueberry muffins and then two blueberry lemon streusel cakes. And I still have some blueberries left! Into the freezer for them.

The muffin recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins. When I first tried this recipe, I fell in love because never before have I tasted such delicate and moist muffins. Like, they were unbelievably moist and tender. Then after a while, I started adding in lemon zest and juice to the batter and then sprinkled on a sugary topping before baking. Lo and behold the delicious blueberry muffins got better. So, that’s how I make them now and they are a favorite at my house. As a matter of fact, the first batch I made for some of my nieces and nephews was gone within 24 hours. Thats over 24 muffins devoured by four kids and two adults. They have been converted and asked for the recipe.

The Blueberry Lemon Streusel Cakes is another adaption, this time from the Pioneer Woman. Just a few days ago she posted a recipe for Blueberry Crumb Cake and I thought “It’s a sign! Something else to make to get rid of all these blueberries!” This recipe is delicious just on it’s own, but I just had to make a few changes and add in the lemon. I don’t know why I have this uncontrollable urge to add lemon into blueberry recipes I just do! It’s really a match made in heaven, lemon and blueberries. Similar to peas and carrots. Or rice and beans. Or Lauren and Gordon! (Haha! Precious.)

Anyways, I added in the lemon as well as made a streusel topping instead of just a ‘crumb’ topping. AND, just to be fancy, I topped the cake with the blueberries instead of mixing them into the batter and then baked them in two round cake pans. Well, one cake pan and one pie plate to be exact. But, they turned out beautifully and most importantly delicious.
So, if you happen to run into some blueberries, snatch them up and make some of these yummy treats! They are sure to please!

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake Muffins

adapted slightly from Ina Garten’s Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffinsyield: 18 muffins (I got about 24)
Ingredients:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems
for the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 lemon, zested

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup 3/4 way full. Sprinkle the topping over the batter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Blueberry Lemon Streusel Cake
adapted from Ree Drummond’s Blueberry Crumb Cake
yield: 1-9×13 cake or 2-9 inch round cakes

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons butter
¾ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
¾ cups whole milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries

for the topping:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
zest of 1/2 lemon
dash cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (I used 325 because the original recipe didn’t have a temperature listed until recently. Both will work!) Combine flour, baking powder, and a salt. Stir and set aside.

Cream butter with cinnamon and sugar. Add egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until totally incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. (I used 2-9 inch rounds) Pour in batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle fresh blueberries over the top of the cake.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Bake cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. (Mine was done after 45 at 325 degrees in my oven). Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top, if desired. Cut into slices and serve.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake

26 Jul
Hello Friends! We’ve had a busy last few days because lots of family were in town AND we were celebrating Gordon’s birthday! So, of course I had to make him a cake! After hounding him for a week trying to figure out what to make him, I just gave him options and this is what he chose, except with very specific specifications. He loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups but not frozen! How do you make an ice cream cake without freezing it? That made it a little challenging, but we came to a compromise and here’s what we got: no Reese’s in the actual cake, just on the cake as decoration. So, that’s that! And believe it or not this ice cream cake actually tasted just like a huge frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup without having any of the candy on the inside! 

It was so delicious and got rave reviews from every single person who had a piece. That’s almost 20 people! You will want to have a party and share this cake because it is so huge and decadent. It looks impressive and everyone will think you bought it from a store! A few of my nieces actually asked me what store I got it from! When I told them I made it from scratch, they just responded with a “WHOA!” (Haha!)
And, even though this cake takes a while to make, all the steps are very simple and I use a lot of short cuts, like using a store bought brownie mix. Ice cream cake shouldn’t be the least bit intimidating to you to make and you can customize the ice cream flavors to your liking. Super simple dessert that everyone will love! Its a win win situation! So, if you have a birthday coming up or even another kind of celebration, give this ice cream cake a whirl! You’ll be glad you did!
Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake
yield: 16 slices, at least!
Ingredients:
1 family sized box brownie mix (18.3 oz.)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
————————————-

2 – 1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
————————————-
1 12 oz. package mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, wrappings removed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
cocoa for garnish

Directions:
Part I- Make brownie batter according to packaged directions. Pour into greased 10 inch spring form pan. Melt peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds or so. Drop by the spoonful onto brownie batter. Using a butter knife, swirl peanut butter into brownie batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Let cool completely.

Part II- Scoop vanilla ice cream into large bowl and break apart as best as possible. Microwave ice cream for 30 second intervals, stirring until ice cream is easier to stir and is smooth. Microwave peanut butter for 30 seconds to melt slightly. Stir peanut butter into ice cream until incorporated. Pour over top  of cooled brownie and smooth the top. It should be filled completely to the top of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours.

Part III- Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until firm peaks form. Chop up mini Reese’s peanut butter cups into smaller pieces being sure to reserve 5 whole peanut butter cups for the top. Remove ice cream cake from freezer. Run a long skinny knife along edges of cake to loosen and then unlatch and remove sides of springform pan. Frost cake with whipped cream, reserving 1/2 cup. Press chopped Reese’s into the sides of the cake. Pipe 5 rosettes onto top of cake with reserved whipped cream. Sprinkle cocoa over top the entire cake. Place 5 whole mini Reese’s into rosettes. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

To serve, remove cake from freezer 5-10 minutes before serving. Dip your large knife into a cup of very hot water to help cut through the cake easier. The first piece will be tough to remove, but after that, it should get much easier.

What to do with Fresh Raspberries (Part I)

16 Jul

It’s almost the weekend. Hallelujah! Do you all have plans? I plan on relaxing and finally getting rid of this slight cold I’ve had for the past three days.

So, first of all, let me explain this post. On Wednesday evening, my cute little family went to go pick some raspberries at my in-laws. I got a little ambitious and we came home with two big bowls full. Then, the next day, some sweet ladies from my church came by for a visit and brought me more raspberries! If you know anything about super sweet super fresh just picked raspberries, you know that they are best when eaten right away. I love fresh raspberries so I had to think of what I could do with all of them….and fast. So, this marks the beginning of my ‘what to do with fresh raspberries’ series. We’ll see how many raspberry recipes I can pop out.

First up: Raspberry Cobbler Pie. Since I had a pie crust left over from my previous post, I thought it only fitting that I make a pie. I usually hate baked fruit, so I thought I would broaden my horizons and give this pie a whirl. Growing up, my parents or grandparents had never made raspberry pie before, so I thought it was a pretty uncommon thing to make because it may not be the most favorite kind of pie. Well, after you make this, you may end up changing your mind. I was surprised at how delicious and flavorful it was! If you don’t mind a few seeds, then this pie is for you. The buttery crust worked well with the berries and the topping added a nice little touch because of the cinnamon. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use cinnamon because I thought it might be weird/gross but I did and it was fabulous!

This pie is pretty easy to make too. The filling is just fresh berries mixed with a few ingredients and the topping is just a matter of measuring and crumbling. Simple! I’d say the hardest part is waiting for the pie to cool completely. I guess technically you don’t have to, but if you want it to keep it’s shape then you will. Also, make sure you have ice cream or fresh whipped cream–it only makes it better! Yum.

Raspberry Cobbler Pie
Yield-1-9 inch pie, or 8-10 servings

Ingredients:
1-9 inch pie shell, unbaked

for the filling-
5 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (more or less-depending how sweet your fruit is)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of salt

for the topping-
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

whipped cream
vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour all ingredients for the pie filling into a large bowl. Gently stir to coat raspberries in flour and sugar mixture without breaking them as best as you can. Pour into unbaked pie shell and even out the top.
Combine all ingredients for the topping together. Using a pastry cutter, a fork or your fingers, mix butter into flour mixture and break it into small pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle evenly over raspberries. Place pie into preheated oven on middle rack with a baking sheet placed below to catch any drips. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce the heat to 325 and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Cheesecake Tart

30 Jun
Good Wednesday, friends! Well, Canada Day and 4th of July festivities are going to be upon us very soon and I thought about making something that was red and white to celebrate. I wanted something that would be easy and fast to whip up for all those parties we all will be attending. I took inspiration from my strawberry cheesecake cookies. I made a few changes and additions and voila! A fancy looking dessert that is inexpensive and so simple! It tastes pretty darn good too. Cold strawberries transport me instantly to summer, no matter what their application is.
AND, here’s an interesting fact: I used to HATE strawberries growing up! I remember going with my family to strawberry farms to pick our own fruit, but would never eat the jam or the desserts that my mom made from them. It was only after I had my baby that I started craving strawberries (probably because I’d have a colic-ie baby on my hands if I ate chocolate and certain other foods I used to indulge in therefore, I was very limited in my food choices). I’m strange like that.
Anyways, my family gobbled this up in no time. I tested it Monday and I had the last piece for breakfast today! It’s delicious stuff and probably took me less than 20 minutes to put together. You could serve it right after you assemble it, but I would recommend refrigerating it at least an hour so the crust can harden up a bit to make slicing easier. Also, feel free to switch the fruit up on top. If you want to do red, white and blue, add in some blackberries and/or blueberries. If you live in a place that grows lots of fruit (like Oregon) you can pick up some fresh peaches, nectarines and/or cherries. Now that would be tasty!
I used a 10-inch tart pan, but a pie plate would work just fine. I was going to post this on Friday, but I’ll be posting a special recipe from Perry’s Plate that you’re going to want to see! Happy Canada Day to all my friends and family in the motherland! And, Happy 4th of July to all my American friends too!
Strawberry Cheesecake Tart
yield: 1-10 inch tart/6 servings
Ingredients:
for the crust-
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
for the filling-
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk (give or take)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
top with-
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
Directions:
For the crust, mix all ingredients together until moist. Press into a 10-inch tart pan or a pie plate. Set aside.
For the filling, whip cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla. Spread carefully over crust.
Top with prepared strawberries or any other fruits you desire.

Peppermint Fudge Brownies

28 Jun

Ok, friends! I have to tell you about this debate I’ve been having in my head for the last 2 hours or so. After examining two recipes and their corresponding photos, I couldn’t decide which one to share with you today. Do I pick the recipe I liked second best because I have better photos or do I pick the better recipe with the not so good photos? Well, despite my valiant efforts and lacking camera skills, I’ve decided to go with door number two: the better recipe with the not so great photos. And by not so great photos, I mean out of focus and awful. So, no photos today. Sorry. I’m a bad blogger in that sense BUT I am supplying you with an amazing,”let me eat half the pan”treat. So, you’re welcome!


Let me just say that these are incredible! I love peppermint and chocolate together and the texture of this fudgy brownie with the smooth and cool frosting is SO GOOD!


Now, let me preface this recipe by telling you that this is not a new and ground breaking discovery. Duh. Obviously. Peppermint brownies have been done before…..a few times over. This idea for me making these started yesterday when I made some brownies for a movie night. I wanted a sweet treat and I had just run a bazillion miles that morning, so I needed the calories (PS-can you believe that? NEEDING calories? It’s the one great thing about running!) So, after having 3 or maybe……cough cough…..7 pieces of brownie, I wanted more. I wanted to bring these brownies over the top to pure decadence land. Enter peppermint frosting. I don’t know what to say. They were good. Really good. Maybe I hadn’t had the peppermint-chocolate mix in a while hence the HUGE party in my mouth OR maybe it was all that chocolate luring me into the depths of a (rather delightful) sugar coma that made me lose the very little will power I had to begin with. Whatever it was, I got to the point where I had to get them out of the house. I end up doing this a lot. Perhaps my addiction to food is to blame? Anyways, we gave them away to some friends that are moving away to Utah. My precious brownies, now being enjoyed by others. I suppose it’s the way it’s supposed to be.


Now, on to more practical stuff. My brownie recipe is made completely in one pot with very common ingredients. It’s a simple recipe and turns out beautifully every time as long as you use good quality ingredients and don’t over bake. Easy enough, right? Also, making recipes from scratch saves you money and gives you peace of mind because you know (and can pronounce) all the ingredients you use. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of recipes on here using a boxed cake mix because they are so darn fast and convenient, however, I like to balance that out with great 100% scratch recipes like this one. So, are you craving something chocolate? You should be after this long post! So, do yourself a favor and whip these up for a fun family night! And maybe drop some off at the neighbors house too! You’ll be glad you did! Happy eating!

Peppermint Fudge Brownies
yield: 24 servings (or in my case 2)


Ingredients:
for the brownies-

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

for the frosting-
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 13 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper leaving a 2 inch overhang (for easy removal later). In large pot, melt butter completely. Generously grease foil or parchment paper using about 1-2 tablespoons of the melted butter and a pastry brush. Set pan aside.
With pot of melted butter still on the burner, add in chocolate chips and cocoa until fully melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and eggs, 1 at a time, stirring vigorously before the next addition. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top and bake 30-35 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before removing brownies from pan (here’s where the extra overhang of parchment paper comes in handy!). 

To make frosting, whip butter, sugar, milk, peppermint extract and food coloring together until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled brownies and cut into 24.


Recipe TIPS:
I forgot to post this tip with everything else! Sorry! But, these tasted a million times better once I refrigerated them! So, pop yours in the fridge! It’ll make a world of difference. 

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