Tag Archives: dessert

Pumpkin Apple Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins. Intensely delicious.

Fall is always the most depressing season here in Florida. While friends in other parts of the country & world are posting on Facebook about cooler temperatures, fall leaves, & sweaters, I’ve been in flip flops since February & my A/C is still blaring 24 hours a day. I miss seasons. I miss jeans! It wouldn’t hurt to come home from a run not dripping with sweat either…

So I try to will Fall here to the subtropics from my kitchen. Today’s post is my hail-Mary, 4th-&-goal, “It’s Fall, gosh darn it!”

muffinsThese muffins are intense. Amazing. Fall in a mouthful. And you know what? It worked! We’ve been soaking in torrential rains since Monday afternoon, & the temperature on my dashboard actually started with a 6 this morning! 69 degrees! It’s FALL in Florida!!!

…until it dries out & both temps & humidity go back up to the 80s for at least another month. But you know what? I just wore jeans two days in a row! In September!

Here’s how to bring Fall into your kitchen:

Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (use the rest of your can to make these & thank me later)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped peeled apples (about 1 1/2 apples. I used Braeburns because they were on sale.)

Cream cheese layer:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & line 2 muffin tins with papers. (Yield is about 21 muffins)
  2. Make muffin batter: whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smallish bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, & oil. Mix wet ingredients into dry until incorporated. Stir in apples. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  3. Cream cheese mixture: in electric mixer bowl, blend ingredients until smooth. Place a heaping teaspoon on top of batter in each cup.
  4. Streusel: using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut ingredients together until they form a coarse crumb. Easily the most time-consuming step; I personally have a love-hate relationship with streusel (love to eat it, hate to make it), but trust me, it’s worth it.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Optional: top with glaze when cooled (1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp. milk). But they are insanely delicious without, let me tell you!

muffinLinked up at TidyMom

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One-ingredient ice cream.

I’ve missed sharing ideas with people! I’ve decided to set a goal of posting at least once a week. Now that The Mini-Munchkin is about the same age that The Munchkin was when I started this, I feel like I can take the time to set up more good photos & write some more. Though the girls are so big now, I don’t think I could call either of them Munchkin anymore. I’m currently accepting nominations for new aliases for my 4- & 1-year-olds.

But so that I don’t bite off more than I can chew, let’s start with something easy, shall we?

banana swirl

This ice cream has one ingredient: bananas.

It’s easy to make. It’s fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, & delicious.

It’s been making the Pinterest rounds, & even Daniel Tiger on PBS is getting into the act; my 4-year-old informed me that this comes from one of his shows & is called “Banana Swirl.”

Instructions:

Just take about 1 ripe (but not banana-bread ripe; I made that mistake this first time. Think still yellow.) banana per person, cut them into thirds or quarters, & freeze. I just stuck mine in a Ziploc baggie. After a couple of hours, remove them from the freezer, stick them in your blender or food processor, & pulverize. The “snow” setting on my Breville worked like a dream. After a couple of minutes, you should see smooth, soft-serve-looking “banana swirl.” That’s it!

Why does this happen? Bananas have high pectin levels. Pectin is the gelling agent that you add when you make jam. It acts as a stabilizer to create that creamy texture. Mangoes apparently also have high pectin levels & would likely produce the same effect if frozen & blended.

This is a great treat for summertime. We made ours to refuel after gymnastics, but I’m thinking one morning I might top it with fruit & granola & serve “ice cream” for breakfast, just to shake things up a bit! What do you think of that?

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Blueberry Cream Pudding Pie. (Inspired by Serious Eats)

I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like anymore perusing Serious Eats. Fortunately, they haven’t forgotten about me & still send me their weekly recipe newsletter. Today’s recipe is an easy version of one from said newsletter. If you feel like scraping vanilla beans & crushing your own graham cracker crumbs, find the recipe here. If you’re pressed for time like me, read on.

I think I underestimate how much I love pudding. It’s not something I ordinarily think to buy, but maybe it should be: it was the first thing I ate after my C-section (thank you, breech Mini-Munchkin). I ate it with every subsequent meal in the hospital. Hmmm… Pudding with every meal? I could go for that!

In the meantime, here’s pudding with dessert.

  • 1 premade graham cracker crust
  • 1 box (the big one, not the small one) vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 cups cold skim milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed & dried
  1. Prepare the pudding as directed on the package, just with 2 cups milk instead of 3. Chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Whip the cream, sugar, & vanilla. Fold about 1/3 of it into prepared pudding.
  3. Spread half of the pudding mixture into the bottom of the crust.
  4. Carefully spread another 1/3 of the whipped cream over the pudding, then top with almost all of the blueberries.
  5. Spread remaining pudding to hide the blueberries, then top with remaining whipped cream & sprinkle remaining blueberries on top.
  6. Serve with a spoon; this will get messy!

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S’mores Bars.

Wow. Just wow. Blondies + s’mores = droooooooool…

I pinned this months ago, but I’ve never been a consumer of Marshmallow Fluff — in fact, any time I think about it, the line from Julie & Julia comes to mind, “What eez zees marshmallow fluff?” But I followed Mel’s advice & overcame my Fear of the Fluff. SO WORTH IT.

Overcome your Fear of the Fluff & make these. Now. (Original recipe here.)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve of graham crackers, crushed)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff or creme
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet, but milk would be more authentically s’mores)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the short edges, & spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together butter & brown sugar. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed to low & gradually add flour mixture until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Press one half into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.
  6. Dollop on the marshmallow topping & gently spread in an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
  8. Scatter remaining dough in clumps on top, leaving some of the marshmallow & chocolate peeking through.
  9. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until golden & the marshamllow is good & toasty.
  10. Let cool completely before removing the bars using the foil, cutting, & enjoying.

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

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Easy Valentine’s Dessert: 6-Ingredient Molten Chocolate Cakes.

For those of you looking for a last-minute dessert idea for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, here is a molten chocolate cake that tastes every bit as fancy as the restaurant ones, but is easy enough to leave plenty of time for romance!

These beauties became a family tradition for us the first Valentine’s Day after The Munchkin was born, when we weren’t able to go out. This year we actually got a babysitter & get to go out for the first Valentine’s Day since then, so I decided to make them tonight for Sunday Dinner so I could share the recipe with you. I’m sure that My Husband The Eater minded terribly.

I think I first got this from Kraft food&family magazine. This recipe yields 4 small cakes; you can easily halve it for just the two of you, or make the full recipe & save the other 2 to eat later (though they will be less molten). I won’t judge you one bit…. since that’s what we do every year.

  • 4 (1 oz.) squares Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (or for more richness, use 4 oz. of your favorite bittersweet chocolate)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
  1. Preheat your oven to 425. Butter or grease 4, 3/4-cup custard cups or souflee dishes. Place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Microwave chocolate & butter in a large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with a wire whisk until the chocolate is melted too.
  3. Stir in sugar with the whisk until well blended.
  4. Whisk in the eggs & egg yolks. Stir in flour.
  5. Divide the batter equally among prepared cups. Bake 13-14 minutes or until the sides are firm but the centers are still soft.
  6. Let stand 1 minute, then gently run a small knife around the cakes to loosen them. Carefully invert them onto dessert dishes & serve immediately with ice cream or whipped cream.


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{Secret Recipe Club} Berry Terrine.

This month my Secret Recipe Club assignment was Dancing Veggies, a (mostly) vegetarian blog with a few vegan recipes. Way to get me out of my comfort zone! As I scrolled down Amanda’s list of recipes, many caught my eye, like these pierogies & these super-tasty-looking zucchini fritters with homemade tzatziki sauce. But, as you know, I’ve been on a bit of a berry kick lately, so when I saw her Verry Berry Terrine, I knew that’s what I had to make!

Like Amanda, I had never heard of a terrine before, so I decided to do a Google Image search to see what dessert terrines looked like. Inspired by the many layered desserts I saw, I elected to do 3 layers instead of her 2: 1 with blueberries, 1 of just cream, & 1 with strawberries. Red, white, & blue! You could serve this for one of the many patriotic holidays we have coming up, or, since I seem to be the only food or craft blogger who didn’t make something for the Super Bowl, Patriots or Giants colors. This dessert looks fancy, but it was remarkably easy, & I already had everything I needed for it. I love it when that happens!

  • 12 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups prepared whipped cream (or Cool Whip)
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed & patted dry
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • about 8 whole graham cracker sheets, quartered on the perforations
  1. Line a loaf pan with enough wax paper over the sides to cover the top as well.
  2. In your mixer bowl, cream together cream cheese & sugar. Mix in the vanilla, then remove from mixer & use spatula fold in the whipped cream until well combined.
  3. Split the mixture into 3 smaller bowls. Fold blueberries into the cream mixture in one of the bowls, & the strawberries into another.
  4. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter (it can be in the same bowl you used for the cream cheese). Press the mixture into the bottom & halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.
  5. Very gently pour/spread the blueberry-cream mixture over the top of the graham cracker crumbs. Use your spatula to smooth it flat, then do the same with the cream, & lastly with the strawberries. Gently slide graham crackers down the sides of the pan, between the strawberry layer & the wax paper.
  6. Place remaining graham crackers on top to cover the strawberry layer. Fold the overhanging wax paper over the top. Use pie weights (or, in their absence, a Tupperware of frozen leftover spaghetti sauce works quite well) to keep it pressed down. Freeze several hours or overnight.
  7. Remove to refrigerator to thaw a few hours before serving (we took it out almost 4 hours beforehand & the fruit was still frozen). Remove wax paper, then invert from pan onto a serving plate. Then cut into slices with a sharp knife. It’ll keep for several days in the fridge, but will get quite soft once it’s fully thawed, so it’s best to eat it within 24 hours of pulling it out of the freezer.

Thanks, Amanda! This was delicious!

Secret Recipe Club

Oopsey Daisy

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Fresh strawberry frosting for heart cutout cookies.

Have you heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes? The first time I heard of them was when they featured this recipe on the Martha Stewart Show a few years ago. Then the California bakery opened a store on the Upper East Side shortly before we left New York, & I had grand designs of doing an East Side-West Side, West Coast-East Coast cupcake taste test to see if they competed with Magnolia, but ran out of time. So I still haven’t had one of their cupcakes. But I’ve never forgotten this frosting recipe!

While I was planning a slew of projects & activities to keep The Munchkin & me occupied & sane in our tiny apartment during Three-Day Potty Training (incidentally, it worked!), I decided on cookies instead of cupcakes because I knew she’d have more fun cutting them out. I had some Pillsbury refrigerated dough on hand, which saved prep time, but honestly the strawberry flavor didn’t come out very well because of the vanilla cookies. Ideally, you’d use the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe too so you really get the strawberry flavor, or if you did do cookies, add some puree or a fruity extract (like lemon or orange) to the dough. But it sure does give a beautiful soft pink hue!

If you plan to decorate your cookies with piping, rather than just sprinkles, you’ll probably want to strain your strawberry puree & add enough cream to reach your desired piping consistency. Also, try to freeze your own fresh strawberries. Buying a whole bag of frozen strawberries at the store not only wastes money & strawberries if you’re not going to be using them; commenters had stated that the less-fresh strawberries made their frosting more gray than pink.

  • about 8 medium strawberries, frozen & thawed (I think they release more juice when they’re frozen… but I could be wrong.)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, firm & slightly cold
  • pinch salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla
  1. Puree your strawberries in a food processor. (I used a blender & ended up with some small chunks, rather than a completely smooth puree.)
  2. Cream butter & salt in stand mixer with paddle attachment until fluffy. Reduce speed & slowly add powdered sugar.
  3. Add vanilla & 3+ Tbsp. (to taste) puree; mix until just blended & even in color. Don’t overmix.

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom   



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Patriotic Napoleons for Primary Election Day.

The Primaries are tomorrow here in Florida. The race has been hot, to say the least, with almost every single evening commercial break being completely taken up with campaign attack ads. Having already done my civic duty — it’s really easy to vote early here — I thought I’d commemorate the craziness with a little patriotism.

(You don’t need to explain the irony to me of using a French-named dessert… Maybe you could use this for Bastille Day this summer.)

I saw this easy Napoleon recipe on TidyMom a week ago & knew I needed to make it. I love that the thick pudding/whipped cream mixture is essentially a quick pastry cream! Her version uses raspberries & bananas, which sounded good, but strawberries & blueberries are in season here, & I have to tell you, they’re the best I’ve ever tasted. Living in the same county as the top growers for Florida strawberries, we’re getting Farmer’s Market quality in the grocery store! It’s unbelievable. So I thought I’d complement those berries with chocolate & cinnamon instead of TidyMom’s caramel & brown sugar.

That’s the great thing about this: you can do it however you want! I actually was going to do bananas too, but a certain husband ate the last one. Honestly, though, I don’t think we missed them!

One quick note: in the future, I think I’ll use puff pastry instead of crescent dough for a flakier, more authentic texture.

  • 1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls (or use puff pastry)
  • cinnamon sugar
  • 1 cup cold skim milk
  • 1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla (regular vanilla works fine too) instant pudding & pie filling mix
  • 1 cup prepared whipped cream*
  • thinly sliced fruit of choice (bananas, strawberries, raspberries, whole blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • vegetable oil

*I made mine with very little powdered sugar so that it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly sweet. You could also use Cool Whip.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Cover a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Unroll your crescents into 4 rectangles. Pinch shut the seams that turn them into triangles. Use a pizza cutter or very sharp knife to cut each rectangle into 4 smaller rectangles, approx. 4″x2″. Place on prepared baking sheet & sprinkle each with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden & beginning to puff. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together milk & pudding mix until smooth & beginning to thicken, then refrigerate 30 minutes, until set.
  5. Fold in whipped cream. If you’re serving this later, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to serve. If you’re serving immediately, continue.
  6. Microwave chocolate chips in a small bowl until melted. Stir in enough oil to thin the chocolate to where it is “drizzle-able” (pretend that’s a word).
  7. Construct Napoleons as follows: one crescent rectangle, dollop of pudding mixture, sliced fruit, another crescent rectangle, another dollop, more fruit, & one last crescent rectangle. Drizzle with chocolate. For small children, just dollop some pudding in a bowl, place a crescent rectangle in the pudding, & top with fruit & chocolate drizzle.

Get Your Craft On Tuesdays

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{Secret Recipe Club} Fried Chocolate & Banana Ravioli.

This month I got the privilege of perusing a fabulous blog Tea & Scones. Margaret posts so many amazing dishes that it took me longer to narrow down what I was going to make this month than it did to actually make what I finally chose! So what did I choose?

Anyone who’s been around here knows my weakness for Nutella & banana sandwiches. Add something Giada came up with that I can make with The Munchkin, & deep-fry it, & you get perfection. Also known as Giada’s Fried Chocolate & Banana Ravioli.

  • 3/4 cup bananas, quarter-inch dice*
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 20+ wonton wrappers (original recipe called for 16, but there’s plenty of filling for lots more)
  • 1 egg, beaten (if your kitchen helper is as “helpful” as mine, water would be a less salmonella-infested choice)
  • Nutella
  • vegetable oil, for frying

*The recipe says 1 medium banana, but it’s better to have 2, because your kitchen helper might have to steal some of it.

Probably better that way, because it’ll balance out the vast amounts of Nutella she’ll pilfer while you’re making your ravioli.

  1.  In a small bowl, combine the banana, brown sugar, & walnuts.
  2. Brush 2 edges of the wonton wrappers, then put a small amount of the Nutella (as much as I love Nutella, I found that less is more here — like 1/2 tsp.) in the center of each. Then top with a less-small amount (1 tsp. or so) of the banana mixture, taking care not to overfill.
  3. Fold the corner over to make a triangle & seal the edges, then refrigerate for 15 minutes. (We kind of skipped the refrigeration part & were fine, but I’m sure it works great.)
  4. Heat about 3/4 inch of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (I used my Le Creuset braiser) to 375 (or if you’re like me & don’t have a candy thermometer, follow Margaret’s handy-dandy tip & see if a cube of bread will brown in 2 minutes).
  5. Fry the ravioli a few at a time for about a minute a side. Place on paper towels to drain.
  6. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Tasty, tasty! Thank you, Margaret!
Secret Recipe Club

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Not Your Grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie.

Why? Because it’s my grandmother’s!

This is her “Milkless Pumpkin Pie,” but if I called it that you would think it was just some gross substitution for people with milk intolerances. The truth is, because it is milk-free, it’s undiluted — full of spice & flavor. Makes normal pumpkin pie taste bland by comparison.

My grandmother got this recipe from a short mid-morning program on channel 5 in Utah years ago that offered tips for housewives. One day the featured guest demonstrated this recipe, saying it was unique because this recipe required no milk. Then they cut to a break; the hostess began to introduce the sponsor, an evaporated milk company, saying how delicious this recipe would be with that company’s milk. The guest sputtered that it was a milkless pumpkin pie; she talked over him & they went to commercial.

I had never made a pie on my own in my life before attempting this one — hence the “interesting”-looking crust. I’ve never needed to because My Husband is The Pie Man. Every Thanksgiving he makes a pumpkin & a boysenberry pie, & they’re always delicious. I’ve included his perfect crust recipe below.

Milkless Pumpkin Pie (makes 1 pie)

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • optional: add a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
  1. Make My Husband The Pie Man’s Perfect Flaky Crust, below, & lay it in a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs as long as your arm will let you so that they’re light & frothy. Add margarine & pumpkin; mix until well blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients & mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared unbaked pie shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350 & continue baking 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Perfect Flaky Crust (makes 1 crust; double it for a double-crust pie)

  • 1 cup flour (plus more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
  1. Combine flour, salt, & oil in a medium bowl with a fork. The dough should ball up nicely.
  2. Add water continue kneading with fork until fully incorporated.
  3. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time, if needed, until dough is the right consistency: not too sticky, not too dry.
  4. Place dough ball between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll out until it’s really really thin & larger than the pie plate.
  5. Use a butter knife to gently free the dough from one of the sheets of wax paper.
  6. Place it, dough side down, into the pie plate & use the knife again to remove the other sheet.
  7. Make it look pretty around the outside. Nope, can’t help you there.

Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Cherokee USA, Le Creuset, Wilton, Bags by Bloom and  Harvard Common Press

works for me wednesday at we are that family

36th Avenue

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